This is my favourite home workout by far
• Fitness tips: the Royal Canadian Air Force 5BX
The Royal Canadian Air Force Fitness Plans were first published in the early 60s, devised to bring about maximum fitness in the minimum amount of time, and to be done indoors. You can find a video guide on YouTube, one filmed in 1959; it might look charmingly old-school but, trust me, this workout is timeless. I have a long-term fascination with it, going back to the 90s, when I went out with a guy whose dad had undertaken the programme at home. He made so much noise that the neighbour threatened to take them to court, saying (the neighbour, not the dad): “The judge will certainly find for me, since I’m a lawyer.” (The guy’s mum was so incensed that she had retrained in middle age as a lawyer, and by the time I met her she was incredibly successful, the Harrison Ford of the legal world.) So I know that these exercises are extremely noisy, and that great things can come of them, if only tangentially.
The 5BX (Five Basic Exercises) Plan makes suggestions for when to undertake this 11-minute routine: before breakfast; “late morning or afternoon, at your place of employment” (this is surely a joke: you should never undertake these at work, unless you’re the boss, and can make everyone do them with you); or shortly before you go to bed. Really though, the only time you can do them is mid-morning, when everyone else is out.