Wednesday, February 2, 2011

February's Challenge

February's challenge is to turn exercise into a habit rather than something I do every once in a while when I'm feeling sluggish, or something that I dread because I make it out to be a bigger deal than it really is. 

When trying to encourage a friend to eat better several years ago, he said, "You may eat better than me, but I've got the exercise thing on you." Zing. Totally true. I've always attempted to exercise, but growing up in a family where exercise wasn't really encouraged, and refusing to be part of any sports team (despite an actual soccer recruit, believe it or not), and with the lack of any issues of the overweight nature until I was in my 20s, exercise was an option for me, not a requirement or even an enjoyable passtime.

Luckily for my health, I've always enjoyed walking, and it's been my main source of transportation for the last 13 years. I usually walk 40-90 minutes per day 5-6 days per week. sometimes more, sometimes less. Ok, I used to when I had a job. Since I've been self-employed and trying not to spend money, I go out less and walk less. I'm definitely making a concerted effort to walk more, but for this month, walking doesn't count as exercise, as walking is a given. 

According to "The Power of Less,"  author Leo Babauta recommends to begin by exercising for only 5-10 minutes each day for the first week. NO MORE. What?! It's to make you want more-- but you're not allowed to have it. Save it for tomorrow! Increase by 5 minutes per week until you reach 25 minutes. Then go to 3- 30 minute sessions, the next week 4, and then maintain your routine at 25 minutes per week. You can then go wherever you want from here. Apparently it should be a well-ingrained habit by this time. 

You are NOT ALLOWED to miss any day. This is your most important appointment of the day! If you do, however, just get back on where you left off. But don't. Also, you're supposed to be held accountable for your actions, therefore it's recommended to tell a bunch of people and perhaps post your progress online. So here it is...

February 1:
-Danced vigourously to an 8 minute Madonna song and a 2 minute Beastie Boys/The Doors mash-up (10 min)

February 2: 
-10 minutes of interval training from February's Alive Magazine. JESUS! This was the first time I've attempted interval training. Listened to Pantera. That's how I knew 10 minutes were over. I found it difficult to count when doing this. 


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