Looking to get fit and lose weight? You need to break out of that sedentary pattern. That may sound easier said than done, but short, intense four-minute workouts a few times a day are working well for truckers, could they work for you?

Few people have jobs that require more sitting than long-haul truckers, who can spend up to 11 hours a day behind the wheel. And research shows that too much sitting can lead to health problems. According to National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), 7 in 10 long-haul truck drivers are obese, more than twice the rate of the average U.S. adult workers. Long-haul truck drivers are twice as likely as other workers to report they have diabetes.

But some people are trying to change that. One former Olympic swimming hopeful-turned-truck driver is making it his mission to help truckers learn that short, intense 4-minute workouts a few times a day can have a highly beneficial effect on a driver’s health.

Siphiwe Baleka was always healthy. That is, until he took a job as a trucker and noticed that the combination of sitting all day and living on convenience foods was beginning to take a toll on his health. He incorporated a more disciplined diet and short bursts of exercise into his day. Then he had an idea:

“Then he approached company management with an idea. The trucks, the trailers and their cargo are all carefully monitored while on the road. Why not do the same thing for the drivers, using devices like heart rate and body composition monitors?”

Today, Baleka remotely coaches about 3,000 truckers around the country, teaching them to incorporate the health changes he made – a better diet and short bursts of high-intensity workouts. He emphasizes the intensity because if it is only going to be 4 minutes, he says you have to make them count. He encourages drivers to work these routines in a few times a day.

One of the key lessons we can learn from this is that small, incremental changes can make a huge difference. Committing to a an intensive gym routine might be too ambitious for someone who is not exercising already, but just about anyone can incorporate 4-minute workouts a few times a day, no matter how sedentary our jobs may be. Studies show small changes can boost wellness. Small changes in routines, habits and discipline help lay a firm foundation for larger changes. Change can be hard – starting with small steps can make it easier.

Below find a sample 4-minute routine that Baleka does. Now the intensity may look too difficult at first, but Baleka simply encourages that you push yourself to achieve the best intensity that you can, and repeat it several times a day.


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