Fitness goals and resolutions that never made it to the finish line in 2015 can lead to feelings of frustration and disappointment as the year comes to a close. All too often the best laid fitness goals are faulty, simply because they are not life-proof. If goals are all or nothing propositions that require a significant investment of time, money or additional resources, then when these resources are in short supply one’s ability to sustain an active lifestyle will be stalled, stifled or stopped.
Many people are aware of the benefits and the need to exercise on a regular basis, however many do not maintain or lead an active lifestyle because they claim they “don’t have time” or they have “busy schedules” or “life happens”. And although true, these reasons are not going to go away nor is the need for regular exercise going to diminish in its relevance and importance as it relates to personal health and well-being.
So what is the answer? No time, limited resources coupled with important goals that require both time and resources. Why not try a life-proof strategy endorsed by Health Canada in their Physical Activity Guidelines. If an individual can spare 10 minutes they can put this strategy into practice each and every day. If someone has more than 10 minutes to spare then they can increase their time commitment and overall physical activity even further.
The premise behind this simple strategy is that everyone has access to 10 minutes of uninterrupted time each day. If this time is allocated towards physical activity this behavior can morph into a regular habit and once this habit takes root it can further infiltrate a person’s lifestyle, routine and weekly rhythm. What began as an easy to access 10 minute increment of time could become 15 minutes or 20 minutes or on some days even longer.
It’s a strategy that supports active, busy living. It’s also an empowering approach. To engage for 10 minutes and know that you have invested in your health and well-being breaks the negative feedback cycle of “I want to, but I can’t find the time because I am too busy”.
Is 10 minutes going to make a substantial difference? It certainly has the power to. And 10 minutes a day is better than having the intention to go for a 30 minute walk at lunch but never finding the time to actually go for the walk.
Below are some suggested strategies for staying motivated and making the most out of a 10 minute commitment to active living:
- Put some inspirational iTunes playlists together in 10 minute increments. When the music stops you know that your workout time has ended. If you find that some days you naturally can spare 20 minutes, then you could also create some longer playlists.
- Listen to an educational or informative podcast while you exercise for 10 minutes. Podcasts are varied in length so you can download a number of them at one time and then select ones that are within the timeframe you have to exercise that day.
- Use an app. The 30 Day Challenge App is an excellent way to have exercises given to you each day. You can do more than one challenge at the same time so you could have a couple challenges and then add in some marching on the spot or a short walk before you do the challenge to fill up your 10 minute increment of time.
- Find a flight of stairs that is not being used and set the stop watch on your wrist or phone for 10 minutes and ascend and descend at a pace that you can sustain and safely manage for this period of time. Then stretch your muscles at the end of the 10 minutes. As you build up your endurance you can increase you speed going up the stairs and this will act as more of a high intensity interval followed by an active rest as you descend at a slower pace. I use this when I am traveling for business. Often I am extremely time crunched with work related commitments and jet leg. However, with this approach I know that I am still investing in my health even if it is just for a short 10 minute morning stair hike.
In 2016 make your fitness goals life-proof by using the 10 minute strategy!
This blog was prepared by Nicole Bergman, an Activity Assistant Program instructor at Drake Medox College. Nicole is a strong advocate for the importance of dailyactivity, and teaches her students how this is key to longevity and quality of life; especially as we age. To learn more about the Activity Assistant Diploma program offered at both Vancouver and Surrey campuses, call 604 629-0196 or 604 495-4208 today!