We all know that physical activity on a regular basis is important for our health.
Many people set goals with the intent to exercise more. But sometimes there is a gap between intentions and actions. People set exercise goals but then get “too busy” and push it off or because it’s too hard.
If you really think about it, the details of how long or how hard you exercise is not as important as the ability to create a habit of working out.
Let’s use running as an example.
Running can be a mixture of discomfort and pleasure. How you feel about it can affect your ability to stick with a running habit.
- If it’s too hard, you’ll quit.
- If it’s too easy, you’ll get bored.
Beginner runners sometimes make the mistake of pushing themselves too hard, too soon, and give up. If you’re feeling discomfort during a run, slow down or walk. Make it more comfortable like giving yourself permission to walk up a hill, listen to some music, enjoy the scenery, be outside with others, and definitely buy some comfy running shoes.
I’m a long-time runner (40+ years ~ damn) and stuck with that running habit because the focus became to “make it fun for me.” Running also gives me energy and sparks creative ideas. Those ideas aren’t always implemented, but I write them in a notebook for future reference. Running everyday isn’t something I do anymore but definitely is still part of my movement habit.
Elite athletes implement the 80/20 rule. No matter the sport, 80% of the time their training is at a lower effort and the other 20% is very hard high-intense training. This allows to them to do a lot of training without burning themselves out while reaping the benefit of the intense workouts. That also helps to balance the pleasure and meaning of the sport to them.
Example on how to apply the 80/20 rule for you: If you choose to exercise four days a week, make three of those days easy and one day push yourself hard. A “hard day” for a runner usually focuses on speed and sprints (shorter distance).
Remember that it takes action to create an important habit like exercise. And whatever physical activity you choose, make it meaningful to you.