This is Part Two of my MOVE series. If you’ve been gradually increasing the time that you move every day as I talked about in my last post “How Do You start to MOVE?” then congratulations!
If you have made it to 30 or 45 minutes a day and are struggling to do more, then ask yourself some questions:
- Do I have time to do more? Be honest – not having enough time is one of the oldest excuses in the book and usually the least valid. Maybe you have to split it up into two sessions a day, or even three. Guess what? They still count!
- Do I have the energy to do more? Don’t forget, more exercise usually means more energy- eventually. Sometimes you just have to get through the first few days when you increase the time so that the new effort feels normal rather than overwhelming.
- Do I need to do more? If your goal is to lose weight and maintain and you are doing it, then maybe you don’t. Maybe you can stay where you are until you hit another plateau. Your body is healthier doing 30 minutes a day and I’ll bet your mental health is better, too. If you’ve made it through 20 weeks of daily exercise then you have made changes in not just your body, but in your mind. You have formed a great new habit that will provide health benefits for the rest of your life.
- Do I want to do more? Ah! This is more a matter of psychology than physiology. Does the idea of adding in another minute next week make your jaw clench and your shoulders hunch up? Those are pretty good clues that you are at your limit for now. Hang on to the progress you’ve made and don’t try to do any more for now. The important thing is to keep moving your body every day. Every week or so, ask yourself these questions again. When you’re ready, you’ll know. THEN go back to adding in 10% a week.
If and when you have made it to 60 minutes a day, I hope you are savoring the triumph that you deserve. Going from 10 minutes a day to an hour a day is a massive accomplishment. The health benefits are enormous and yet the gradual increase means that you did it without stressing out your body or hurting yourself. Perhaps you are ready to learn How to MOVE More Intensely?
But before you start to increase the intensity of your hour a day, let me ask you a question – are you SURE you’re ready to move to the next level? Are you eager and excited? Or are you dreading it? If you are dreading it, then why are you doing it?
Yep. That’s what I said. If you are not eager and excited to move on to the next level, then maybe the level where you are is the level you need to be.
Does that just blow your mind or what?
Let’s think about it. You are moving your body every day. Even if you aren’t breaking a sweat, and that’s hard to believe, if you are getting your muscles moving for at least 20 minutes a day, over time that will change the composition of your body from fat to lean body mass.
Just because there is another level, doesn’t mean it’s the best one for you. There’s always another level. Olympic athletes constantly strive to get better and set new levels. But the best one for YOU is always the one you are going to do. Let me say that again: The best exercise that you can do is the one that you will do for a significant amount of time EVERY day.
Okay, I’m not a trainer, just an athlete. But I am a certified management consultant and I see this in big companies all the time: they want to keep improving and changing their processes until they get to the point that no one can maintain the level of effort. Then what happens? The new level of project and process maturity they have achieved falls apart and they end up worse than they were before. Because now there is an expectation of perfection that can’t be met. In our own lives, we add guilt to the mix of not exercising.
So if you can commit to swimming a few minutes every day – do it! If you can commit to walking a few minutes every day – do it! Is it 20 minutes? Is it 30 minutes? 45 minutes? 60 minutes? Whatever it is, do it and feel good about it. And if you find that once you increase your time or your effort that you STOP exercising every day, then stop and go back to what you were willing to do every day.
Because let’s be honest, it’s so much more than what we were doing before. Am I right?