This summer the City of Biddeford, Maine, working with Johnson & Johnson, launched a 7 Minute Workout Station, providing the local community and visitors the opportunity to get a simple, fast, science-based workout for free. The station is a freestanding structure that is modeled after the Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout, and includes instructions on how to execute each exercise using the station. It was an exciting day for me – a high point that’s been many years in the making.
As an exercise physiologist for almost 20 years, I am passionate about promoting physical activity and making it accessible to everyone. Several years ago, as part of my role as Director of Exercise Physiology with the Human Performance Institute, I created a simple, fast, and effective workout that requires nothing more than a floor, a wall, and a chair, and can be done by almost anyone, anywhere, anytime.
The workout comprises a circuit of 12 bodyweight exercises, each performed for 30 seconds with minimal rest between exercises. One circuit, therefore, takes approximately 7 minutes.
In May 2013, my co-authored article providing the science behind this workout was published in the peer-reviewed American College of Sports Medicine’s Health & Fitness Journal. The workout quickly became known as the “7 Minute Workout.” We began developing the Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout App, which launched in January 2014 and has since been downloaded more than 800,000 times.
During this exciting process, I received an unusual email from David Flood, a local businessman from the City of Biddeford. David has lived in Biddeford most of his adult life and cares greatly about this community of approximately 22,000 residents. His energy and enthusiasm for Biddeford is infectious and he is always willing to proudly talk to you about this city he calls home.
David’s request was quite simple. He asked if he could build a physical 7 Minute Workout Station outdoors in Biddeford, so that all residents could have the opportunity to access effective workouts and stay healthy. I loved the idea of a city taking the concepts of the Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout directly into the heart of a local community and watching it have a direct impact.
Flood recommended the creation of a 7 Minute Workout Station to the Heart of Biddeford board of directors and with their approval, secured funding from two Maine Downtown Center Programs: the Seawall Foundation and Healthy Maine Streets (a federally-funded program through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to build the station.
Creating a physical station that would be modeled after the Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout presented unique design challenges. I wanted to ensure that the station represented the key benefits of the Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout, which required Biddeford to consider factors like the width of the station’s beams and the addition of non-slip textures. The City also added a bar to hold onto for balance and a rubberized floor surface. The workout station began to come to life.
Once the design was finalized, construction began in the spring of 2014. Consistent with our Johnson & Johnson Official 7 Minute Workout App, the station was painted red and featured the exercise instructions and images from the App on its vertical beam, along with details on how to download the App. By July, two 7 Minute Workout Stations were built.
On July 17, on a sunny day in Mechanics Park at the center of Biddeford, the two 7 Minute Workout Stations were revealed. It has taken a year and a lot of work by many at Johnson & Johnson and in Biddeford, but I am proud to have played a small part in helping promote physical activity and healthy living to everyone in this great community.
Chris Jordan, MS, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, ACSM HFI/APT, the Director of Exercise Physiology at the Human Performance Institute, designed and implemented the movement/exercise components of the Corporate Athlete Course, and is responsible for the development and execution of all corporate fitness programming. Chris holds a Master of Science degree in Exercise Physiology with distinction from the Leeds Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom, and a Bachelor of Science in Applied Biological Sciences from the University of West England, Bristol in the United Kingdom.