Here's a 30-Day Challenge That Can Be Started Right Now

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Seabees ride stationary bikes in the gym at Camp Natasha, Afghanistan.
Seabees of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74 ride stationary bikes for cardio exercise in the gym at Camp Natasha, Afghanistan, Sept. 1, 2009. (Chief Petty Officer Ryan Wilber/Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 74)

If you’re looking for a daily challenge that will test your ability to stay consistent and also make you feel incredible each day, all it really takes is 30 minutes daily. There's no need to wait for a new year’s resolution.

It all comes down to mobility. If you start today, can you do a month's worth of mobility days?

Try 30 minutes for 30 days in a row with a simple workout that will help you burn calories, stretch achy muscles, loosen stiff joints, and work your heart and lungs as well.

Here is the workout and why you should consider this 30-day challenge. It’s going to sound very simple – but the impact will be huge.

Mobility 30 Workout

Repeat 3 times:

  • Cardio of choice (bike, elliptical, row, or swim): 5 minutes
  • Stretches or foam roll mix: 5 minutes

That’s it. That’s the challenge.

It is up to you if this mobility workout is the only one you do or if you make it a separate workout that's in addition to your current programming. While doing this I highly recommend that you select a non-impact cardio activity. But if you prefer to run or walk, you can do the Mobility 30 workout with any cardio activity of your choice.

In fact, if you are going to do this for 30 days in a row, you may find mixing the cardio choices from day to day will help prevent this from becoming too repetitive. You can also opt for upper body mobility and flexibility training on odd days and legs, hips and lower back mobility and flexibility training on even days of the week.

Who Should Try This?

Beginners

This workout as a stand-alone daily program is a great way to build a habit of making a daily 30-minute appointment with yourself. If you currently do not exercise with any consistency, the 5-minute cardio and 5-minute stretch combination is an easy way to build a fitness habit.

After 30 days, you will find that the time slot you created in your day can be replaced with multiple options, including more sustained cardio activity or a quick circuit of resistance and weight training. In fact, you may find that instead of stretching every five minutes in this model of training, you can do five minutes of cardio followed by five minutes of circuit training on machines in the gym or calisthenics at home. There are many ways to grow from here, but the most important part of getting started is building the habit.

Stressed or Burned-Out Athletes

There is the other side to the fitness spectrum. You may have been training hard all your life and recently accomplished a gut-check activity like an endurance race. If you are on the brink of overtraining, consider replacing a few weeks of workouts with a series of daily mobility days. You will feel better after this deload cycle.

Of course, you could also be facing stress from work, family or life in general. No matter what the source, stress is stress. Finding an easy way to metabolize the stress hormones running through your veins without pushing yourself over the edge with harder workouts will require some humility. Allow yourself a break before you break yourself.

People Looking for a Change

Assess yourself and see if you need to work on your flexibility and mobility. Chances are you will, since most of us skip stretching when it comes to fitting any type of workout into the day. This Mobility 30 training model allows for you to give yourself a break from high-repetition calisthenics while maintaining some cardio activity and engaging the flexibility and mobility that are often neglected by even the most consistent exercisers.

People Who Need Help with Flexibility and Mobility

This one is a no-brainer. If you do not feel like you can afford dropping any of your other activities, see if you can find an additional 30 minutes in your day to do the Mobility 30 workout. Keep the cardio light and easy. You can do this one later in the evening after dinner and before bedtime. You will find it very relaxing whether you place it at the end of a workout or the end of a day.

Don’t wait for the first of the month to start. I personally started the Mobility 30 challenge this week and I'm on day three so far. I have done both options. I have done it as a stand-alone workout and have added the Mobility 30 as a supplement to the end of a workout day. So far, both are working as I suspected them to work and everything's nice and easy.

-- Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you're looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to stew@stewsmith.com.

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