This 15 Minute Workout Can Save Your Life

Diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol), osteoporosis, sarcopenia (muscle loss from aging), and many more diseases run rampant in a family doctor’s office. Often times, patients will be on what we call “polypharmacy” (multiple drugs) to help with these various conditions. Most of the time these prescriptions have at least SOME side effects and interactions with each other, which is of course undesirable. What if there were just ONE “drug” that could target ALL of these maladies without worries of the nasty side effects? Of course I am speaking about what Arnold helped instill into me at a young age when he promoted the Presidential Physical Fitness Challenge – EXERCISE.  So when I was asked to come up with the best exercise plan my patients could do in 15 minutes, I wanted to create one that had the most bang for your buck in terms of the disease prevention and treatment for the most common ailments you would see in a primary care setting.

For most chronic diseases, a combination of resistance and aerobic exercise tends to win versus either of the two types alone. However, time is generally an issue for my patients so it’s hard for them to spend 30 minutes on the bike and then lift weights for another 30-60 minutes. If I want to increase compliance, I need to prescribe exercise just like I would prescribe any other medicine and give the “minimum effective dose.” This is what this 15 minute challenge is all about.


In order to meet my criteria, I created a full-body dumbbell resistance circuit training routine that can be done at any gym, hotel, or even home (with a set of dumbbells and a bench). I also wanted it to be fit for my average patient in terms of skill level (the leg exercises may need to be varied for those less skilled). The end product is one that will improve blood sugar regulation, strengthen bones, normalize blood pressure, build muscle, decrease fat, and enhance mood.

The Workout

  • Perform the following exercises for ten reps each: Dumbbell Bench Press, One-Arm Dumbbell Rows, Dumbbell Squats, Dumbbell Deadlifts, and Dumbbell Lunges. Take little-to-no rest between each exercise.
  • At the end of the circuit, rest 30 seconds to one minute.
  • Repeat the circuit as many times as it takes to reach 15 minutes total of exercise time.
  1. DB Bench Press (10 Reps)
  2. One-Arm DB Rows (10 Reps)
  3. DB Squat (10 Reps)
  4. DB Deadlift (10 Reps)
  5. DB Lunges (10 Reps)

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