👋 How Can We Help Make Health Care Better?
What is the hardest part about exercising? I used to believe it was consistency, but as I have come to understand habit formation, I realize now the hardest part is simply figuring out what my cue or trigger is for my exercise routine. For a lot of us, that is simply getting your sneakers on or a pre-warmup coffee.
The benefits of exercise are immense. It limits the aging process, makes us look and feel great, improves our concentration and sleep, and has significant benefits with controlling or even eliminating chronic diseases. The American Heart Association recommends we get 150 minutes of moderate activity (i.e. brisk walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous activity (i.e. jogging, cycling) every week.
For a lot of us, we have grown sedentary while in the time of Corona, and the key is deciding where to begin. For those of us over 35 years old, we typically will have a mismatch between capability and motivation. When I finally decide to work out, my motivation is super high, but my body is usually not ready for the sudden increase in activity. If we decide to make a good habit routine, and start slowly, in the span of a few weeks, we should find a nice rhythm and give our bodies a chance to acclimate.
A good plan is to decide on a low impact cardio routine, say 10-15 minutes of walking. It should feel easy so that you can do it every day. Now we have our behavior loop. The cue can be anything you like. For me, once I get my sneakers on, it’s time to walk. The reward? That can be anything, a banana, cup of coffee, or keeping a daily log to show the progress you are making. You will of course feel good at the end of your walk, which is its own reward.
Remember to find new ways to challenge yourself to go just a little bit farther or faster every day. Building up your endurance slowly will reduce your resistance to initiating your habit loop the next time.
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Published by Dr. Zaid Fadul