Moving Is Better than Exercising

I bike to work and do Pilates twice a week at lunchtime in my workplace. Sometimes I feel that I should have nobler fitness goals. This is why I love this blog post by Nick Crocker about Finding Exercise in Life’s Margins at Harvard Business Review.

Weaving exercise and intentional movement into the fabric of my life feels way more possible (though less sexy) than training for a triathlon.

I let our family gym membership lapse because I just wasn’t going. And I felt guilty — for not going, for the expense, for the lack of family pool time. I felt I was a fitness failure. But I wasn’t. Just because exercise is easy — like slowing down on my bike past the flower gardens in Riverside Park — doesn’t mean it’s not valuable.

You don’t have to hate exercise in order to get fit, feel good, or even lose weight. (The same goes for time at work — you don’t have to hate it.) Why not love what you do? I love playing tennis. Consistency is more important than breaking a personal record.

Personal brag: my son just won an athletic award this week. He was a triathlete — competing in three varsity sports as a 9th grader. But of one of the sports, track, he said he lacks passion. I say, Fine, drop it, if you like. Just keep moving.

Drop your gym membership too. Just stay active.

Weave fitness into every day. A little moving regularly is way better than a lot of fitness once in a while.

A guy on the bus seated in front of me was carrying
this bundle of flowers. A rosy outlook only costs $3.99.

Getting In a Good Habit

I want healthy habits, but they take time.

I don’t want to write right now. I want to go off on a tangent. I want to tweet and comment on my friends’ status updates. I want to check CNN and learn more about the senseless shooting of Congresswoman Giffords in Arizona. 

That story reminds me of when I was on assignment in Tucson a few months ago and saw bullet holes in the flags flown by Humane Borders, an awesome group that provides water to migrants in the desert 

I dont’ know why anyone would shoot those symbols of water which could save lives. Vandals shot at Humane Border’s 100 lifegiving water tanks too. I don’t understand shooting at all. Violence begets violence. I hate gun violence.

I believe in peaceful solutions. I believe in the power of small steps to make the world better — small acts of kindness and small attempts at healthy behavior.

I don’t want to get sucked into watching TV and feeling angry and powerless tonite. My desire to develop healthy habits seems insignificant in the face of a national tragedy. 

To overcome stress and national trauma, it is necessary to perform small acts of self care. For me, that’s developing a habit of blogging or walking. I am comitted to these, even briefly.

Fifteen minutes a day is good enough. Between watching my son’s two basketball games this morning and watching the Columbia-Union College basketball game this afternoon, I went for a walk with Barbara in Central Park. We did not walk for long or far, but we walked and talked for about half an hour. It felt great.

How long does it take for a daily action to become a habit?  

One study says 15 minutes of vigorous activity a day reduces the risk of obesity. Another study says after 66 days of an activity you will acquire a healthy habit (and if you skip a few days, that’s okay).

So a week after my New Year’s goal setting, I am on my way to 2011 goal getting. Now that I’m done with this blog, I want to tweet, watch TV, check Facebook, but I think I will just go to sleep. I wanted to be in bed by 10 pm every night, but that goal’s not happening.