The time to exercise is NOW!
Written by: Meg Sharp, Wellbeing Consultant, Cambridge Group of Clubs
“I’m going to commit to strength training as soon as I’ve…”
“I’ll join the Club once I’ve managed to… “
“I’d love to start running again. I just need to wait until…”
“I would benefit so much if I could devote more time to exercise. But now isn’t the right time.”
Does any of that sound familiar? Well – dear reader – we have terrific news: It doesn’t matter how big, hairy, scary, or important your current challenge is. The time to start exercising, change your workouts, add to the intensity or duration, or frequency is NOW.
New baby on the way? Just broke your leg? Travelling for work for 2+ months? Just got a promotion? Mother-in-law just moved in? 7 kids under the age of 8?
Life is full. Incredibly, impossibly busy. You might think waiting 2 weeks, 2 months, or 2 years is going to help. It won’t.
Do you know one of the most powerful things that differentiates people who are “life long exercisers” vs those that are constantly starting and stopping? It’s the people that just do it. Even if - or especially if! - it’s just a 4-minute workout every other day. We get that life will always be challenging. We understand that all our brain really cares about is that we did some sort of exercise. It doesn’t really notice whether it was 6 minutes or 66 minutes. We know we are and will always be creatures of habit. So, some sort of pattern of exercise needs to be set. And we plan for that. We schedule it in. Perhaps plan to exercise every day – or every other day on a given week. And we repeat the cycle the next week. And the week after that. Just 4 minutes mind you. That’s all the time we can currently commit.
Then – when suddenly life provides that window where we CAN exercise 45-60 minutes, every day, the habit is in place and we hit the high bar! Every day! And we ride that high for weeks! Maybe months! And then life throws a curve ball. (Right? Because it always does.) We’re suddenly, impossibly busy and stressed again. So, we revert to our 4 minute pattern. For a day. Or a week. Or maybe longer. And once again, the very second the sky clears… even for just 48 hours… we up the sweat equity once again.
Here's the thing: There is never a “perfect” time to start or change or add to your exercise because life is impossibly, wonderful, frustratingly dynamic. It offers occasional windows when fitting in exercise is easier. Then it narrows those windows without warning.
When we consistently fit in even slivers of movement, we maintain momentum. As importantly, we continue to identify ourselves as habitual exercisers. And – this is the really fun part – like everything in life, the more you do something, the better you get at it.
For example, you join the Club today. And for the month of March you figure out how to get to the gym twice a week for 20 minutes. April hits, and you realize you can up that practice to 3 times a week. (Part of what supports this April realization is you notice how much better you feel on the days you DO hit the gym.) May arrives and you realize your mid-week workout can sometimes be 60 minutes. The last week in May your workout duration drops to 15 minutes. The 15-minute workout isn’t ideal, but that’s okay, because in June, you don’t have to travel and you end up coming to the gym every single day. July is a wash. You fit in exercise mostly at home. But you keep with the commitment to do something every day… and then… August is awesome. You even find time to go to that Yoga or Spin class. Just the one time. But September you go to that class every week. Suddenly, you realize you’ve been exercising regularly for 7 months. You look and feel better for all the small and large efforts. And are becoming the type of person who – no matter what – is going to just figure out how to fit it in.
People who end up being lifelong exercisers enjoy better posture, less stress and depression, fewer injuries, higher metabolisms, more energy, stronger muscles and joints… We even – it’s been proven – are better at problem solving and cognitive function in general. Which means we get things done a little more efficiently. Which – yes – frees up more time to…?! For us, it frees up more time to exercise – because it’s something we’re already doing.
We – like you – suffer phases where exercise sessions seem impossible to fit in. We know those phases won’t last forever. And when a better – not “perfect” but better – window presents itself – we don’t have to waste the energy on figuring out how to start. The embers we’ve kept simmering are easy to ignite and we hit the ground sprinting.
Exercise garners AMAZING results. Exercise is transformational. But only if you actually do it. Start doing it and keep doing it. So, start today. No matter what is going on, start today.
Maybe there is a “perfect time” after all: NOW.
PS. Need help starting, adding, or changing it up? We’d be thrilled to cover the cost of an hour with one of our fitness experts.
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