Hello World !
Wow.. I can say that and mean it literally =) Ok so I figured I’ve been posting this week on habits and how important they are to our success in living a healthy lifestyle, I figured I’d end the week talking about another important habit we need to build in our lives.
OK stop… I hear your collective sighs and groans and gnashing of teeth.
You hate to exercise. It’s hard. You sweat. Your heart beats fast and your muscles protest. Your thighs rub together in an uncomfortable way. You have sweat trickling down in areas you don’t think it belongs. You think you’re dying.
Good. You’re doing it right.
I’d have to say when I talk with people, alongside wrestling with food choices, exercise is a hard thing for people to develop a habit for.
Why? ‘Cause it’s hard and almost everyone will find something else to do besides that.
I think personally, the most important thing you can do to guarantee you stay with it is find THE thing that you love to do… then become an expert on it. If you are passionate about what you do, you will stay with it.
I usually hear… ” I can’t run” or ” I hate running” because people know it’s what I do and what I’m passionate about. I remind them it’s fine to run… if they want to… if they don’t.. then please… don’t.
I also think it’s great to have a couple things you enjoy that keeps you from getting bored and allows you to change things up.
Being injured these past few months has kept me from running much, therefore, I’ve spent lots of time on my bike. I have loved it and it’s given me an outlet for not being able to run. I have days I’m inside and do strength training. I love having choices and enjoy them all.
Each one of these activities have developed because 1) I enjoy them 2) I’ve repeatedly practiced them.
Exercise isn’t just a weight loss tool and shouldn’t be viewed as just such. Yes, when we eat right with exercise, the natural outcome is weight loss.
But our bodies need movement for overall health and wellness. Exercise offers mental clarity and can reduce blood pressure and improve other health issues. Not only that it can produce overall feelings of well being.
Why wouldn’t you wanna make that a life habit ??
Like anything, it requires persistence, and a certain amount of stubbornness to make it happen on a daily basis.
In my opinion, habits are built on a determination to change something in our life… good or bad.
The common “reason” I hear for people not exercising is … time. Listen, if you have time to do anything in your day, you have time for exercise too.
I know that mornings are my best time to get it done for a variety of reasons. First, nothing feels better and more energizing than having a workout done and tackling my day. I also know mornings will be my most successful time to make it happen for sure. If I say ” Oh, I’ll do it after dinner” I know there’s a huge probability it might not happen. There’s to much going on. People are awake and want things from me. I don’t feel as perky. The list can go on….
I do have a HUGE amount of control on when I get up in the morning to making that happen.
When my husband was unexpectedly hospitalized several years ago, I’d get up at 5:30, head out to do some strength training, finish up by the time the kids were waking up for school, get cleaned up, put them on the bus, and head to hospital.
I needed that time for myself. It helped keep me sane in difficult days.
Exercise at that point was a need and a habit for me. It’s more so now.
I’ve gotten up at 5:30 midweek to knock out a 10 mile run before the critters had to get out for school. Yes, I had to make adjustments and schedule it, but hey, I do that with anything else in my life too.
I read an interesting comment in a running article I was reading. Although it was talking about running I immediately identified it as applicable to exercise in general.
“It takes about three weeks of running at least three days per week to get to the point where missing a workout triggers a sense of withdrawal, which increases desire to be more consistent. ” (emphasis mine)
I get that. I get twitchy if I miss a day, and it’s worse with two. But sometimes, life happens. I don’t mind feeling that sense of withdrawal because it keeps me hungry for doing it. But what those three days in article means is, they are making it a habit they can’t do without, conditioning themselves to making it feel normal.
So how do you begin to build this in your life ?
Identify what your best time of day is to get it done. Morning? Evening? Early afternoon before kids descend on you again ? Figure it out.
Now….put it on your planner. I literally make appts around my workout schedule. Make it fit in your day.
Mark a starting day ( soon!) that you know you will get it going.
Perhaps you go buy some new shoes for your activity with the plans to start the following week ? Some new clothes ( I always look forward to the next run when I get new gear 😉
Start small and keep it maintainable. As you keep those commitments look at how you can challenge yourself and increase what you’re doing.
Allow yourself no excuses (other than valid ones like injury or a day that goes wildly out of your control)
Reward yourself in non-food ways.
With a little planning, a positive attitude, and a determination to make exercise a part of your life, it will become your new favorite habit =)