#342 The 2-Minute Workout to Prevent AFib and Extend Your Healthy Lifespan

The 2-Minute Workout to Prevent AFib and Extend Your Healthy Lifespan

Everyone knows daily exercise is at the heart of a long and healthy life. However, it is disheartening to observe that two-thirds of my patients, and most people in the US, don’t exercise consistently. In light of this, I would like to share a revolutionary approach inspired by the work of James Clear from his book, Atomic Habits, that can help everyone incorporate exercise into their daily routine.

By dedicating at least two minutes each day to physical activity, and never missing twice, you can decreases your chances of atrial fibrillation (AFib) and extend your healthy lifespan. This article delves into the data supporting the benefits of exercise, tells inspiring stories of individuals who have embraced the two-minute workout, and offers practical tips on overcoming challenges and developing lasting habits.

The Power of Exercise in Preventing AFib and Extending Lifespan

Studies have consistently shown that regular exercise significantly reduces the risk of developing AFib, a condition characterized by irregular heartbeat and associated with numerous health complications. Not only does exercise prevent AFib, but it also extends our overall healthy lifespan. Engaging in physical activity enhances cardiovascular health, strengthens muscles, improves mental well-being, and reduces the risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and obesity. The evidence is clear: exercise is a powerful tool for promoting longevity and vitality.

The Two-Minute Workout

The beauty of the two-minute workout lies in its simplicity. Regardless of physical ability or busy schedules, everyone can commit to at least 2 minutes of exercise each day. Of course, the real goal is to exercise much longer than 2 minutes each day but the commitment here is that you will exercise for at least 2 minutes daily. In other words, do something physical for 2 minutes each day and you can feel good about checking off the exercise box for the day.

One of my all-time favorite authors, James Clear, the author of “Atomic Habits,” wisely reminds us, “You just have to be consistent.” The most important thing is to create the daily exercise habit. Missing one day of exercise is human but you never want to miss twice. Missing twice is the start of a new bad habit.

Commit now to 2 minutes of exercise every day. Everyone has 2 minutes in their day that they can carve out to do something physical. Embracing this mindset allows you to prioritize consistency over perfection, fostering a sustainable exercise habit that can transform your health and well-being.

Even individuals confined to a wheelchair can participate in this routine. The key is to choose any form of exercise that suits your preferences and capabilities. Whether it’s stretching, walking, dancing, or using resistance bands, two minutes of intentional movement is all it takes to kick-start your journey towards a healthier lifestyle.

Never Miss Twice

Clear’s insights echo the importance of never missing a workout. He emphasizes that progress stems from showing up consistently, even when motivation wanes or life gets hectic. As he states, “Missing once is an accident. Missing twice is the start of a new (bad) habit.” By committing to the 2-Minute Workout and never allowing a missed workout to become a habit, you build resilience, discipline, and ultimately, a stronger foundation for your overall fitness journey.

When James Clear advises to “never miss twice” when trying to develop a new habit, he emphasizes the crucial importance of consistency and resilience. Missing a single day may be seen as an isolated incident, a temporary stumble on the path to change. However, if that missed day turns into a pattern, it becomes a new habit altogether—one that contradicts the desired behavior.

The principle of “never miss twice” is rooted in the understanding that setbacks are inevitable, but it’s how we respond to them that determines our success. By promptly getting back on track after a missed day, we prevent the missed action from becoming the norm, safeguarding the progress we have made so far.

When we miss a day, it is essential to view it as an exception rather than an excuse to abandon our efforts. The power lies in our ability to recover swiftly, to acknowledge the slip-up, learn from it, and resume the desired behavior immediately. By doing so, we demonstrate our commitment to change and protect ourselves from falling into the trap of developing a new, counterproductive habit.

James Clear’s advice encourages us to approach missed days with a growth mindset. Instead of dwelling on guilt or disappointment, we can reframe our perspective and view setbacks as learning opportunities. Each missed day presents an opportunity to reflect on the obstacles that caused the deviation and proactively seek strategies to overcome them in the future.

By adhering to the principle of “never miss twice,” we cultivate resilience, discipline, and perseverance. We recognize that progress is not linear but consists of ups and downs. By refusing to let a missed day define our journey, we maintain our focus on the long-term goal and reinforce our commitment to the desired habit.

Ultimately, embracing the idea of “never miss twice” empowers us to navigate the inevitable challenges and setbacks that arise during habit formation. It reminds us that consistency is key and that true success lies in our ability to bounce back and remain steadfast in our pursuit of positive change.

Why Just 2 Minutes?

The philosophy of never missing a workout aligns with the principle of the 2-Minute Rule. While two minutes may seem insignificant, it is the act of honoring your commitment every single day that sets the stage for transformative change. Each time you complete those two minutes, you reinforce the belief that you are capable of sticking to your goals and nurturing a healthy relationship with exercise.

Remember, the power of the 2-Minute Workout lies in the consistency and dedication to never miss a session. Even on days when time is tight or energy is low, those two minutes become your anchor, reminding you of your commitment to self-care and personal growth. As James Clear eloquently puts it, “Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become.” With each workout, no matter how short, you are casting your vote for a healthier, more vibrant version of yourself.

So, embrace the simplicity of the 2-Minute Workout and let it be a guiding principle in your fitness journey. Take inspiration from James Clear’s wisdom and let the words of motivation resonate within you: “Make it so easy you can’t say no. Focus on effort, not results. Stay focused on the practice, not the performance.” By never missing a workout, you unlock the potential to create lasting change and pave the way for a healthier, more fulfilling life.

The Power of the 2-Minute Rule

The 2-Minute Rule is a catalyst for change, empowering you to overcome resistance and embrace a consistent exercise habit. By starting with a mere two minutes, you lay the foundation for lasting transformation. Tony Robbins once said, “It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives, but what we do consistently.” Let this principle fuel your motivation as you embark on your own fitness journey.

The beauty of the 2-Minute Rule, as advocated by James Clear, lies in its simplicity. It asserts that everyone has two minutes to spare, regardless of how busy or overwhelmed they may feel. This notion challenges the common excuse of lacking time for exercise or any other habit we want to cultivate. By breaking down our desired behavior into a two-minute action, we remove the barriers of complexity and time commitment that often hinder progress.

Psychologically, the 2-Minute Rule brings about significant behavior change by leveraging the power of momentum and overcoming the inertia of starting. The rule capitalizes on the psychological principle that initiating an action is often the most challenging part, while once started, it becomes easier to continue.

When we commit to just two minutes of exercise, we lower the activation energy required to begin. We eliminate the mental resistance and friction associated with starting a workout. This small and manageable commitment helps to alleviate feelings of overwhelm or intimidation that often accompany longer exercise sessions. It shifts our focus from the magnitude of the task at hand to the simplicity of getting started.

Moreover, the 2-Minute Rule taps into the concept of habit stacking, where we associate the new behavior with an existing habit. By connecting our two-minute exercise routine with an established activity, such as waking up in the morning or brewing a cup of coffee, we capitalize on the existing neural pathways and make the habit easier to implement. This approach leverages the power of triggers and cues to prompt us to take action.

The psychological impact of the 2-Minute Rule extends beyond just the immediate two minutes of exercise. It creates a positive feedback loop. Completing the two minutes reinforces our sense of accomplishment, satisfaction, and self-efficacy. These feelings of success and progress fuel our motivation to continue and gradually increase the duration or intensity of our workouts.

The 2-Minute Rule challenges the common perception that significant behavior change requires a significant time commitment. By demonstrating that even the smallest actions can have a profound impact, it reshapes our mindset and helps us adopt a more optimistic and growth-oriented approach. It encourages us to focus on consistent progress, reinforcing the belief that small, consistent steps can lead to significant and lasting transformation.

In essence, the power of the 2-Minute Rule lies in its ability to bypass the psychological barriers that impede behavior change. It empowers us to overcome inertia, build positive momentum, and create lasting habits that can transform our lives. By embracing the philosophy of “just two minutes,” we unlock our potential for consistent action and open the door to meaningful and sustainable change.

Story 1: John – The Young Executive Balancing Work and Family

Meet John, a young executive with a heart problem and three lively kids and a demanding job. Juggling the responsibilities of work and family, John realized the importance of taking care of his health. Inspired by the concept of the 2-Minute Workout, he committed to never missing a day of exercise, no matter how busy life became.

Every morning, before the chaos of the day ensued, John woke up a few minutes earlier and found a quiet space in his home. With his children still fast asleep, he engaged in a two-minute bodyweight workout routine. Push-ups, squats, and jumping jacks became his morning companions, energizing him for the day ahead.

On weekends, John seized the opportunity for longer workouts. He and his wife coordinated their schedules, arranging for a babysitter to watch the kids while they prioritized their physical well-being. They would go for a jog together, take a bike ride, or explore new hiking trails. These weekend sessions allowed them to bond as a couple while nurturing their fitness habits.

To track his exercise progress, John utilized a simple habit-tracking app on his phone. Each day, he logged his 2-Minute Workout, noting the date and duration. The visual representation of his efforts motivated him to stay on track and visually reinforced his commitment to consistency.

Admittedly, there were days when the demands of work and family threatened to derail John’s commitment. However, he remained steadfast in his resolve. On particularly hectic days, he would break his workouts into smaller chunks throughout the day—two minutes here and two minutes there. The cumulative effect of these mini-workouts reinforced his dedication to never miss a day, regardless of the circumstances.

John’s unwavering commitment paid off. Not only did he experience physical benefits like increased strength and stamina, but he also noticed a positive shift in his physical and mental well-being. He became more focused, productive, and better equipped to handle the challenges of his busy life. And his heart symptoms gradually all went away. By putting in his reps each day, John solidified a daily exercise habit that became an integral part of his lifestyle.

Story 2: Lisa – The Middle-Age Working Mom Mastering Consistency

Enter Lisa, a middle-aged working mom juggling a demanding career and the responsibilities of her family. Determined to prioritize her health despite her busy schedule, she embraced the 2-Minute Workout as a catalyst for transformation.

Every morning, as the house bustled with activity, Lisa carved out two minutes for herself. In the midst of getting her children ready for school, she squeezed in a quick burst of exercise. Whether it was a brisk walk around the block or a short yoga routine, those two minutes became her daily anchor—a symbol of self-care amidst the chaos.

One day, life threw Lisa a curveball, and she missed her workout. Recognizing the potential danger of developing a new habit, as highlighted by James Clear, she quickly rebounded. She refused to let one setback define her journey. Lisa used that slip as a reminder of the importance of consistency and the potential consequences of veering off track.

With renewed determination, Lisa refocused her efforts and committed to never missing a workout again. On days when her work hours stretched late into the evening or family commitments monopolized her time, she adapted. She would wake up a few minutes earlier or seize pockets of time during lunch breaks to squeeze in her two minutes of exercise. By adapting to her circumstances and making her reps a non-negotiable part of her routine, Lisa solidified her daily exercise habit.

Over time, Lisa began to witness the incredible benefits of her commitment. Not only did she feel stronger and more energized, but her ability to manage stress improved significantly. She became an inspiration to her family, showing her children the importance of prioritizing self-care and cultivating healthy habits even in the face of a hectic schedule. And, like John, heart heart symptoms also gradually resolved.

Both John and Lisa recognized the importance of having triggers and tracking mechanisms to support their daily exercise habits. By implementing these strategies, they not only established a routine but also held themselves accountable for their commitment to consistent exercise. These triggers and tracking methods provided a sense of structure and served as reminders of their dedication, helping them overcome obstacles and stay on course.

Whether it was the sound of an alarm or the aroma of coffee, these triggers seamlessly integrated their 2-Minute Workout into their daily lives. Additionally, the act of tracking their progress visually reinforced their efforts, celebrating their consistency and motivating them to keep pushing forward.

Everyone Can Do The 2-Minute Workout

Every day as I step into the clinic, I am driven by a deep desire to inspire my patients to embrace the transformative power of daily exercise. It is disheartening to witness the array of excuses that are often presented, as many individuals vehemently argue for their limitations. I understand that health conditions, such as arthritis or knee issues, can pose challenges and create hurdles on the path to physical activity. However, I want to emphasize that regardless of these limitations, everyone has the potential to do something, no matter how small, physically for at least two minutes a day.

Compassion and understanding are at the core of my approach. I recognize the frustration and pain that my patients may experience, but I also firmly believe that dwelling solely on limitations perpetuates a cycle of inactivity. By arguing for these limitations, they inadvertently choose to keep them. Instead, I encourage my patients to shift their mindset, to envision what they can do rather than focus on what they cannot.

It is within these limitations that the true spirit of the 2-Minute Workout shines. Even those with physical constraints can engage in gentle movements, stretches, or seated exercises that are within their capabilities. Two minutes of intentional physical activity, when consistently practiced, can pave the way for progress and foster a sense of empowerment. It is through these small but meaningful actions that they can gradually expand their capabilities, improve their overall health, and reclaim control over their bodies and lives.

I urge my patients to look beyond their limitations and embrace the possibilities. Together, we explore tailored modifications, adaptive strategies, and exercises that align with their abilities. By focusing on what they can do, even in the face of adversity, they create a pathway towards a healthier and more fulfilling life. My role as their healthcare provider is to support, guide, and inspire them, providing a compassionate space where they can conquer their doubts and embark on a journey of self-discovery and growth.

So, to all those who argue for their limitations, I implore you to reconsider. Open your hearts and minds to the possibility of change, no matter how small it may seem. Embrace the two minutes a day, as it has the potential to unlock a world of transformation. Together, let us rise above the excuses and embark on a journey of self-empowerment, reclaiming our health, vitality, and the joy that comes from living an active and purposeful life.

4 Steps for Success

1. Set a 2-Minute Workout Goal: Choose a simple and achievable exercise activity, such as jogging in place. Commit to doing it for just two minutes each day. Focus on the immediate benefits of increased blood flow and a boost in energy.

2. Trigger Your Workout: Associate your 2-Minute Workout with a specific trigger, such as waking up in the morning. As soon as your alarm goes off, begin your two-minute jog in place before proceeding with your morning routine.

3. Commit to Consistency: Make a steadfast commitment to perform your 2-Minute Workout every day. Set a reminder on your phone or use a habit-tracking app to hold yourself accountable. Remember, it’s just two minutes, and consistency is key to long-term success.

4. Track Your Progress: Keep a visual record of your daily workouts to monitor your progress. Create a calendar where you mark each day you complete your 2-Minute Workout. Witnessing the accumulation of successful exercise sessions will motivate you to keep going and build upon your achievement.By implementing these practical examples alongside the four steps, you can effectively incorporate the 2-Minute Rule into your daily routine, prevent Afib, and extend your lifespan. Remember, even the smallest actions, when done consistently, can lead to significant and lasting results.


By embracing the 2-Minute Workout and its potential to prevent Afib and extend your lifespan, you take a crucial step towards a healthier, more vibrant future. As Tony Robbins reminds us, “It’s in your moments of decision that your destiny is shaped.” The 2-Minute Rule empowers you to make that decision, commit to it consistently, and transform your life. Harness the inspiration of individual stories, like those of Sarah and John, as you embark on your own journey. Begin with just a 2-minute commitment and then, with consistency, watch it develop over time.


The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be considered as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article. Reliance on any information provided in this article is solely at your own risk.

About the Photo

The accompanying photo captures a breathtaking moment from the top of the tram at Snowbird ski resort, taken this past Memorial Day weekend. In this picturesque setting, my daughter and I embarked on a memorable skiing adventure that went well beyond the 2-minute workout described in this article.

The slopes of Snowbird this Memorial Day weekend provided us with a thrilling and invigorating experience, as we embraced the beauty of nature while engaging in a physical activity that brought us joy and vitality. This image serves as a reminder that daily exercise can take various forms and be adapted to individual preferences and circumstances. Whether it’s skiing down snowy slopes, exploring hiking trails, or participating in any activity that gets us moving, the key is to find what brings us fulfillment and contributes to our overall well-being.

Disclaimer Policy: This website is intended to give general information and does not provide medical advice. This website does not create a doctor-patient relationship between you and Dr. John Day. If you have a medical problem, immediately contact your healthcare provider. Information on this website is not intended to diagnose or treat any condition. Dr. John Day is not responsible for any losses, damages or claims that may result from your medical decisions.

  1. I am starting today!! 2 minutes is so do-able! Can’t wait to see the mental results and get my husband involved too! Thanks. I have had Afib, controlled with medication and one ablation, for many years (hard to not have it when your father and two brothers both had it.) I have done 2 miles of walking each day forever, but now you’ve given me something easy, to keep me going, no matter what happens each day. Thanks so much!

  2. Thank you for your emails. You don’t mention if we need to get our heart-rate up to a certain number in that 2 minute exercise.

    I do things throughout the day, nothing too stenuous, but sometimes it is. I go up and down steps, which is very difficult with both my knees being bad. I still get AFib. I had one ablation and that hasn’t made any difference for me. I take Propafenone 150mg every 8 hours. I had many cardioversions, lost count. Am scheduled for another one on June 8. I must be honest, that I am about 100lbs overweight and must lose it asap. There are times that the AFib starts, and then goes back to normal after 2-3 hours or so. But then there’s the times that it goes on for a week. I’m 66 years old, female, but this started when I was 32 after I had my daughter. I walk pretty much, but not without something to hold on to, so I walk mostly when I go to the stores for shopping. Other than that, I do household chores, take care of a 3yr old grandson, and feel I am pretty active considering.

    Getting frustrated,