Don't Lose Momentum: Committing to the Minimum Exercise Threshold
Today's Will Power Moment - 12
with Dr. James Meschino
Make no mistake about the fact that endurance fitness is a major underpinning of health. It’s important to eat properly, get enough sleep, manage stress, and so on, but in order to keep your heart strong and ward off many health problems, you need a base line level of endurance or cardiovascular fitness. And the action of doing it also burns calories to help keep you at your ideal weight, or helps you burn excess calories so you can attain your ideal weight. So, endurance or cardio fitness is an integral part of wellness, disease prevention and weight management.
Not only do you have to engage in endurance fitness, but you also have to do it consistently – at least 4 times a week. The problem is that you may be like me, where you set your goal for 35-45 minutes of endurance exercise per session. Whether that’s riding a stationary bike, jogging, power walking, using the elliptical machine, taking a high-intensity dance or fitness class, rollerblading, mountain biking for an hour or 90 minutes, etc. But there are bound to be certain days when you are really pressed for time, and doing the complete routine just can’t fit into your day. On those days you need a back up plan. So, you have to decide in advance what your minimum exercise threshold will be so you don’t lose momentum, still burn some calories, and maintain your fitness level to some degree. I set the goal for at least 20 minutes of jogging or riding a stationary bike fairly aggressively (trying to burn at least 150 calories on the bike) when I am really pressed for time.
You may want to set a goal like pledging to complete at least 5,000 steps at some point in the day if you are tracking steps with your phone or another wearable device. Of course, 10,000 or 15,000 steps would be much better, but on days when you’re pressed for time, doing 5,000 steps is better than doing hardly no steps at all. The key is not to lose momentum. If you completely skip a work out, it becomes easier to skip the next one, then the next one, and so on. And before you know it, you’re not exercising anymore. That’s what happens to the majority of people.
So here is the solution: If you have a minimum exercise threshold back up plan, then you still keep yourself in the game. You don’t lose momentum, and the next day you’ll be right back with your full routine. That’s how it works. Psychologically, just completing the minimum threshold of exercise really helps prevent you from losing compliance with your endurance fitness routine. Remember, consistency is everything, so you have to plan for the days when you’re pressed for time, feeling lethargic, a bit run down, feeling overwhelmed, etc. On those days, default to your back-up plan – your minimum endurance exercise threshold. Only you can decide what that will be. But make the commitment right now, and make sure you track your workouts in the Daily Diet and Activity Tracker on the Meschino Wellness Platform. Take a minute and think about what your minimum exercise threshold plan will be. Commit to using it as your own personal back-up plan on days when you feel challenged, and keep recording your workouts in the Diet and Activity Tracker, and I guarantee you’ll keep your progress going for a lifetime.
Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great.
Dr. James Meschino
Dr. James Meschino
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. James Meschino, DC, MS, ROHP, is an educator, author, and researcher having lectured to thousands of healthcare professionals across North America. He holds a Master’s Degree in Science with specialties in human nutrition and biology and is recognized as an expert in the field of nutrition, anti-aging, fitness, and wellness as well as the author of numerous books.