Forget New Years resolutions. Just make daily exercise a natural, irreplaceable extension of yourself. Otherwise you frame it as something grand, something external to your underlying nature and consequently place too much weight on the notion of discipline and hard labor.
That’s not to say those elements don’t appertain. But that’s really not the image I encourage you to set for the habit to become autonomous.
The other problem I observe is the setting of unnecessarily unrealistic goals, which, together with the improper visual, fosters too much burden, leading to the eventual abandon.
If, like me, you wish to focus on longevity and make daily exercise sustainable in the long run, first, develop the proper visual. Second, devise a routine that you believe you can actually sustain over a lifetime.
The visual should be simple: it’s something you do for your fundamental well being.
Like the taking of a shower. Or the grinding of the dental floss between teeth. Or the drinking of liquids. Or allowing the repressed mind to escape in the smart phone for hours.
Most probably don’t exhaust much mental fuel on the above ceremonies.
Whatever additional physical extremity daily exercise might constitute in reality, you need not concern yourself. Relate to it as you would to those other tasks. It’s something you do, it’s part of you, end of story.
There are those that aim for something magnanimous, requiring unusual effort: a colossal physical transformation, some measure of herculean strength, or some shift of severe body mass.
For one, if that be you, you’re focusing on results. And you might very well attain them. It’s a way to meet short term goals, sure.
But you aren’t focusing on longevity and sustainability, per the parameters we’ve here set. And you’re probably not addressing your underlying relationship with the habit (per the visual I continuously allude to).
Emphasize that visual and domesticate the process. Less worry about forthcoming results.
Results will come anyway: perhaps not the results aligning with your ideal version (or perhaps yes), but a pretty decent one. And better yet, sustainable.
As for me, I continue to ever revise my routine and emphasize the small percentage responsible for greatest impact. And it still fascinates me how much one can do with so little.
Though it’s taken me years of experimentation to arrive at the present combination, the result, in the generalized sense, proves fairly trivial and entails little you probably haven’t already heard.
Eliminate what harms
Of arguably greatest importance is the elimination of the most hampering existential elements. That means reasonable nutrition of minimal sugar and processed foods.
It pains me to affirm what you likely already know, but the nutrition, as varied claims state, contributes to 60-80% of the outcome. Thus avoid the harmful.
Frequent movement is essential. If you can perform a computer activity standing, do so. It’s usually a matter of slight improvisation to your work environment.
But don’t remain static as still life. Do shift your weight and pace a bit.
For tasks involving brainstorming, paper note taking, or audio/video content consumption, there’s especially no need to sit. So dance.
Also take daily walks unless you lead a naturally mobile lifestyle (not I). Intuitively, you probably understand why immobility devastates.
Stretching is vital. Besides all sorts of ninja-like conveniences enabled by a flexible frame, stretching offers additional protection from injuries, makes exercise easier, and causes you to feel better overall.
I’d only recently become aware that not everyone can assume a lotus position. If you ask me, this one deed alone makes the prospect worthwhile.
(Somehow or other, the lotus position seems to frame my mind more positively over the traditional sitting postures.)
I perform stretches daily, but not necessarily the same ones. Some overlap, some do not. Nor do they require a separate time cycle: I interpose stretches between sets of exercise, making the overall sessions reasonably compact.
For me, a combination of dynamic and static stretches (held for 30-60 seconds) involving the gluteals, the ham strings, shoulders and lower back seems to mostly avoid the injuries that’d plagued me over so many of the earlier years.
Beyond that, I practice mostly body-weight exercises, emphasis on widely varied push-ups, pull ups, squats (including the jumping variety) and abdominals.
Despite the absence of weights, many of these are by no means of light resistance: one-legged squats, pike push-ups, hand-stand push-ups are all 2-10 repetition sorts of affairs.
The abdominal routine is a once-per-week 10-minute procedure of about 6-8 consecutive exercises. And my abdominal region, although not the most defined, is fairly solid.
Some exercises I simply loathe doing. These mainly concern the leg work. As such I easily permit myself to perform just that and nothing more strenuous for the day.
Strangely, I quiet enjoy basic push-ups, and would do them daily if not for time constraints, the need to recover, and the likely injuries that ensue when I overindulge.
For all the exercise groups here mentioned, I opt for slow, controlled motions over fast and explosive. There are schools that emphasize the latter, but to me it speaks unsustainable and injury prone.
All together I devote anywhere from 25-50 minutes daily to exercise, stretching included. This in addition to walks and all-around movement.
Time of day I don’t consider that crucial, provided I don’t foresee any external impediments. Otherwise, it would occur first thing.
This routine, combined with the appropriate nutrition, makes my effort minimal, almost nonchalant.
One can easily sustain such a habit for a lifetime - on both the physical and the emotional level. Many devote greater time to the mirror.
Questions, comments? Connect.