Habits of Healthy Motion represent one of the pillars of the Habits of Health System. In order to thrive, to function and perform at their absolute best, our bodies need movement. More than simply burning calories, Habits of Healthy Motion counteract the extensive consequences of a sedentary lifestyle and foster a wealth of rewards ranging from cognitive to cardiovascular benefits.
The challenge I often see in patients, however, is that their perception of what motion should be is warped from decades of Hollywood montages and late-night fitness equipment infomercials.
If you have spent a large portion of your life with little physical activity and have gained extra weight as a result, beginning a new movement program can be intimidating or downright scary, especially when our idea of fitness is Rocky carrying logs in the snow or a fitness guru on social media flipping tractor tires while showing off a perfect six pack.
You are not alone if you have felt like fitness is out of your reach.
Here is the good news: It’s not. Much of the exercise industry wants you to immediately adopt the routines of an ultra-athlete, and that’s not only impractical; it’s unfair to you. We have a better way, a way that understands where you’re starting and is focused exclusively on your success.
Reframe how you think about movement
First, I want you to reframe how you think about movement with the Habits of Healthy Motion philosophy:
- Motion that occurs outside of a formally scheduled exercise is perhaps more important than being in the gym 30-minutes a day
- High-intensity interval training is beneficial, but it’s not often a good place to start
- Long-term consistency is more important than a “perfect” program that is unsustainable
That’s great, but what does that mean for you and where you are today? Well, if you are just beginning your Habits of Health journey, here’s what you should know:
- ALWAYS talk to your physician before making a lifestyle change
- Walking and standing more often are some of your biggest opportunities for motion (adding 100 steps and sitting for 30 minutes less a day is a great start)
- Start small with habits so simple that failure is nearly impossible, such as one push-up a day
- When you do reach the point of needing a formal exercise program, look for a routine that fits your needs (that could be intense weight lifting, yoga, group fitness, Tai Chi, and so on)
In the Habits of Health System, the theme is always gradual, sustainable change. Motion is not a light switch where you go from little to no activity to suddenly working out 6 hours a day. That’s why the gym is packed in January but empty in July—you will likely burn out if you adopt a radical change.
Instead, recognize your starting point, and set a smaller goal. Our objective is only to do more motion than we are doing before. If that means doing one push-up for 66 days (the average time it takes to install a habit), that’s a fantastic place to start.
Can you do one push-up a day? How about if we start with you doing the push-up against the wall instead of on the ground? I bet you can.
So, start that new habit today.