It’s 5:45 am and I hear the familiar voices of “Mike and Mike in The Morning” coming from my alarm clock. It’s a soft wake up and gets me thinking about activity immediately. As I roll out of bed I grab my toothbrush out of the bathroom and head to the kitchen for food.
My gym bag and work bag are already packed and sitting by the front door. I pack everything the night before and put my workout clothes out too. This way I don’t even get dressed in the bedroom and avoid waking up my wife or the kids. After a quick breakfast, I hop in the truck and get to my racquetball game by 6:30 am.
Three Tips to Consistent Exercise
With so much health and fitness related books and blogs, I want to keep it simple. Here are my top 3 tips when it comes to exercise. First, exercise every day for at least 30 minutes a day. There are some studies that show this exercise doesn’t even need to occur all at once. The American Heart Association recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate level physical activity every day. Second, create a routine for yourself, something that helps you to get moving. Third, create some accountability for yourself when it comes to exercise and health.
“It is exercise alone that supports the spirit, and keeps the mind in vigor.”
Tip 1 – Thirty Minutes A Day
With 30 minutes of exercise a day being such a reasonable amount of time to be moving, there are no limits to how you can accomplish this. You can go for a walk, vacuum the house, lift some weights, ride a bike, play a sport, hike, the list is endless. Forcing yourself to be active will only work for so long, it has to be fun and needs to involve other people, at least, some of the time. The key is to every day find a way to do at least 30 minutes of moderate level activity.
If you are like me, you will find this tip to be challenging on certain days and easy on others. The easy part about this tip is the 30 minutes doesn’t have to be all at once. You can take a 5-minute walk at work, do a set of squats and pushups at another time, park your car far away from your office door, walk to lunch, etc. My favorite way to squeeze in the 30 minutes is to chase my girls around the house and to dance with them. What ways can you squeeze in 30 minutes? Make sure to add these to your notes.
Tip 2 – Routine
Tip number two is all about routine, or even better habits. Habits are what make us tick. When you get up in the morning the habits begin, and most of the time we don’t even realize what we are doing is habitual. Take a normal morning for most Americans. They get up, hop in the shower, get dressed, grab some coffee (that they habitually set up the night before), eat some breakfast, check their phone several times through all of this, brush their teeth….the habits go on and on. Then you step into the car, the office, check email, then Facebook (or maybe the other way around)… again our lives and days are filled with habits and routine.
The healthiest among us have made exercise automatic. They turned exercise into a routine just like brushing their teeth. This level of commitment is key to our long term health and happiness. I have a routine for exercise and this routine gives me flexibility in my exercise, I have committed to workout in some way 3 times a week, anything above this is a bonus. On the other 4 days I exercise for at least 30 minutes as well, but the other 3 days I push myself harder.
What is your commitment? Create that commitment and stick with it, and make sure to follow tip 3 to make it happen. Tip three holds everything together. Without this, your health and fitness go down the drain.
Tip 3 – Accountability
Accountability. There are many ways for people to be held accountable, it is not just accountability to a friend or colleague, accountability comes in many forms. Here are 10 ways to create accountability:
- Tell people: I tell my wife or a friend or coworker, I just tell someone I’m gonna workout. One of them usually asks how my workout was, and when I have to tell them I didn’t do it, well it hurts a little.
- Meet someone at the gym: This one is obvious if someone else is expecting you to show, it’s a lot harder to flake on your workout.
- Take someone with you: Set up a “gym date” plan a workout with someone.
- Join a sports team: Now you have at least a few people making sure you show.
- Put it on your calendar: Not just that, but have the calendar text you, or notify you the day before, the day of, and right before. It’s annoying, but you can’t say you forgot.
- Put it on your To Do List: I use Wunderlist and if you are like me, it feels great to check the workout off my list, in fact, if it’s not on there I’ll add it then check it off (it feels so good!), some of you know what I’m talking about.
- Set goals: If you have goals, and you track them, it’s a lot easier to show up.
- Get a trainer: Find a trainer that motivates you to show up and pushes you to get better.
- Reward yourself: Have a brownie afterward (every once in awhile), go to a movie cause you worked out 3 times for 3 weeks, I don’t know, some sort of a reward that will encourage you to go.
- Buy stuff: Buy new workout gear, you’ll want to use it and show it off.
In order to create or maintain accountability, pick a couple or make up your own so you can get started. No matter how you manage to keep yourself accountable and motivated to exercise, help someone else to be accountable too.
Your Health Is Not Only About You
From the list above there are a few other areas to help keep us accountable to our physical health and well being I would like to mention. Our doctor can measure our health on many levels, with blood pressure, cholesterol, various blood and urine tests, x-rays, etc. The yearly physical can truly save your life. Above all of these, I believe is your family.
What would happen to your family if your health fell apart because you didn’t create a few simple habits? Where would they be emotionally, financially, physically… you get the point. Find a way to exercise, find a friend or take your family with you, exercising today will change you and your family’s tomorrow.