A descriptor I used in my last post generated this email comment:
“You say you exercise ‘a lot’. Your side bar says your exercise goal is 30 minutes a day. Which is it?”
Good question, and thank you, Ms.
Picky Precise for allowing me an opportunity to clarify. By “a lot”, I mean consistently, as in (usually) 5-6 days a week, each and every week, for four years now.
I hope that answers the question, but for new readers who may not know my personal (ph)itness philosophy, I’ll continue rambling….
When I first decided to follow the tippy-toe path, I chose to adopt an attitude of eating and exercising for better health (knowing that weight loss should follow) and to set achievable and sustainable goals. I had read that great health benefits could be achieved in exercising a measly 30 minutes most days each week, even if it had to be broken up into several shorter segments when carving out a half hour proved difficult, but to be honest, I didn’t really put much stock in it. Somehow I’d gotten it into my head that unless I was out running marathons or spending hours in a gym, I wasn’t really exercising and wouldn’t/couldn’t lose weight that way. I feel a little silly now, but certainly not ashamed. I’m not the only one who has been caught up in that whole diet mentality. Don’t even get me started on that!
The good news is that what came from it all was a subtle shift in thinking–from “getting skinny” to “getting healthy(-ier)”–that allowed me to clear away the fog of the diet trap and see the benefits of even moderate exercise. A little over four years ago now, I made a commitment to myself that no matter what the scale or the tape measure said, or how busy I was, or what the weather was like, I would build a habit of exercising at least 30 minutes per day. I knew that this needed to be a lifetime commitment, and 30 minutes seemed to be something I could do forever.
As it turns out, it was entirely possible! In just a few short months, I moved exercise from a semi-annual event into an almost daily occurrence! Along the way, my capabilities and endurance increased so that I was able to up the intensity, and that’s been the one change to my long-term goal–from 30 minutes of moderate exercise to 30 minutes of vigorous exercise six days each week. Although I’ve been tempted on occasion to set a goal of longer workouts, I’ve chosen to keep my eye on the forever aspect of this plan and leave the stated goal alone. By keeping my mindset on “the least I can do”, I’ve avoided setting goals that time, talent, and the pursuit of good sales at Target won’t allow me to sustain over the long term.
All that said, I do usually exercise more than 30 minutes per day. This is my DailyMile training log:
This is a combination of strength training, walking, and cycling. As you can see, I’m not setting the exercise world afire, but I am exercising consistently and exceeding my stated goal regularly. That’s largely because the workouts or routes that I have in mind (and have time for) generally take a little longer. Plus, I regularly miscalculate distances and taxi fares are too expensive for getting back home.
The bottom line is that I feel good–both physically AND mentally–following this plan, and I’m (mostly) able to maintain my weight loss. I aim for “the most I can do” on any given day, but when life gets in the way, 30 minutes is “the least I can do.”
By now, you’ve no doubt noticed that the graphic shows a blank spot for September 19th. I should fix that by getting my fanny to the gym!
Wishing you all a most happy Monday!