Aerobic Exercise Primer

Valued Readers – Please take a look at what I’ve written here. Let me know in the comments: Does it make sense? Does any of this sound too preachy, judgemental, sexist, or redundant?  Does any of this seem incomplete or too indepth? The target audience is people who do not currently exercise or just want to learn about exercise.  I’m not worried about syntax or spelling errors, as much as content. Maybe show it to someone who should be exercising and see what they think. Let me know! Thanks!

Aerobic Exercise for Health and Weight Loss

So far, we’ve discussed problems with the Western Diet, eating better, sleeping, de-stressing your life, how to lose weight by hacking industry secrets, and maintaining your weight loss. All along, I kept mentioning exercise. If you take all the advice I’ve given you up until now, you could probably skip this whole “exercise” thing and be OK. But I’ll give you about a 30-50% chance of keeping your weight off for more than a year. If you want to be one of the 3-5% of dieters who maintain a weight loss for over 5 years, you’ll want to keep reading.

Aerobic and strength training exercise is of vital importance to keeping your weight in check and staying healthy. Without exercise, your heart becomes lazy, your muscles weak; it makes your genes work against you. Look at exercise to hedge your bets on living a long, healthy life free of heart disease and the host of debilitating illnesses that inflict nearly everyone as they age. Exercise isn’t about losing weight, it’s about having a body that’s resistant to weight gain and aging. It works. It really works. But maybe you have to see it to believe it.

Exercise Recommendations

You’ll recall from a previous discussion that the official recommendations for exercise are:

  • Moderate aerobics – 2 ½ hours per week, or
  • Vigorous aerobics – 1 hour 15 minutes per week, and
  • Strength training – 2-3 times per week

The moderate and vigorous aerobics may be combined for 2 ½ hours per week. Also acceptable is 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous activity alone. Best practice is a minimum of 30-60 minutes per day of some type of aerobics exercise with a couple days focused on strength training.

Insulin Sensitivity

Insulin sensitivity, that is, the body’s ability to sense and store glucose, is the holy grail of metabolic health. Some say that resistance to insulin is the start of a long, slow decline into poor health (Freeman, 2018). Along with diet, exercise is the best method to increase insulin sensitivity and stave off disease (Buresh, 2018). The recommended amounts of exercise almost guarantee increased insulin sensitivity, the problem is, nobody wants to exercise.

How Many People Exercise?

According to a large survey less than 20% of Americans get the recommended level of exercise. When you look at people older than 24, the number drops even further to about 15% (Jaslow, 2013).

Let’s do some math. 50% of adults are on a diet. 80-85% don’t exercise. 95% of diets fail. I’m not a statistician, but those numbers don’t look surprising. Why don’t more people exercise? When surveyed, these are the most cited reasons (The Heart Foundation, 2018):

  • Can’t afford it.
  • Don’t like to exercise alone.
  • Don’t like to sweat.
  • Embarrassed around opposite sex.
  • No motivation.
  • Too boring.
  • Too busy.
  • Too old or unfit.
  • Too tired.
  • Tried and quit.

I get it. Exercise takes a very low priority for most people. Plus, people seem to think that they move around enough in their life and don’t need to go out and intentionally move more. But I think the underlying theme is that people just don’t see why they need to. None of the respondents answered, “Don’t care about insulin sensitivity,” or “My bones are strong enough.” They just gave excuses. This tells me most people don’t know what benefits we get from exercise. So, I’ll tell you.

Benefits of Regular Exercise

Big Medicine Industry Insider Secret: If people would exercise to the minimum recommendations, they would (Warburton, 2006):

  • Enjoy longer life.
  • Delay the onset of 40 chronic conditions/diseases (e.g. cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, hypertension, obesity, depression and osteoporosis).
  • Enjoy better cardiovascular fitness.
  • Have stronger bones.
  • Sleep better.
  • Have less stress.
  • Maintain their weight.

Minimum Effective Dose

Scientists have established that burning an extra 500 calories, or about an hour of exercise, weekly is effective for health benefits associated with exercise.

“A volume of exercise that is about half of what is currently recommended may be sufficient, particularly for people who are extremely deconditioned or are frail and elderly (Warburton, 2006).”

Getting started with an exercise program is like planting an oak tree: The best time was 30 years ago; the second-best time is today.

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic exercise is done for cardiovascular conditioning. Also called “cardio” or “endurance training,” aerobic means “with oxygen.” Your breathing and heart rate will increase during aerobic activities leading to numerous health benefits including weight loss and weight stability.

The best exercise program is the one you will do, week after week, year after year. Looking at aerobic exercise specifically, it takes no special equipment other than comfortable clothes and good shoes. The movements are not difficult. You can buy DVDs and follow along at home or join an organized aerobics class. Yoga studies are really popular now, and even yoga is easy to do at home. The hardest part is just getting started.

Problems

Many people make the mistake of jumping into an exercise program without thinking. They end up hurting themselves or not seeing any results and quit. Or they join a gym only to find out the people there are big, sweaty jerks and they feel intimidated, or you find it gets to be too expensive, not enough equipment, too crowded, inconvenient, etc.

Aerobic exercise has its share of problems. Aerobics classes like Zumba or Jazzercise are popular now, and great if they fit your schedule. But sticking with it for long seems to be the killer. Changes in instructors, crowded, hot workout rooms, expense, and childcare often get it the way.

A Solution

Become militant with your schedule. Make sure everyone in your life knows that you have, and adhere to, a strict exercise schedule. Your health depends on it, so why not? Don’t let anyone get in your way. We’re talking 30-60 minutes a day. This doesn’t mean that you must go to an aerobics class every day, but it does mean that you should carve out 30-60 minutes every day for aerobic conditioning. Pro-tip: Be this way with your sleep, too.

More Than Just Classes

One of the best aerobic workouts you can do is walking. It’s free and you can do it just about anywhere. Treadmills are cheap enough to buy for your home. Bicycling and exercise bikes also fit the bill for cheap, easy aerobics workouts. It doesn’t have to be an organized class. Here are some ideas:

  • Bicycling
  • Calisthenics
  • Cardio machines
  • Cross country skiing
  • Dancing
  • Hiking
  • Kickboxing
  • Pilates
  • Running
  • Snowshoeing
  • Swimming
  • Tai chi
  • Walking
  • Yoga

An excellent plan is to be able to do several of these workouts on a whim, with a backup plan in case you run out of time. A nightly walk after dinner is perfect. Some would rather get up early and do it before work. However, you do it, just keep doing it. Anybody remember the “mall walkers?”

mall.PNG

How Much/How Often?

The ideal amount of aerobic exercise is 30-60 minutes a day of walking, with some “more vigorous” exercise thrown in 3-4 days per week. This is based on government guidelines and many years of scientific data showing that this amount of aerobic exercise is optimal for human health. You can develop a great routine based on exercising six days a week. If you miss a day, you can play catchup on the weekend.

Do Gardening, Shopping, and Chasing Kids Count?

Short answer: No.

There is a big difference between “physical activity” and “exercise.”  While it’s great to get lots of physical activity, it’s not considered exercise. Sure, vacuuming a house, taking laundry up and down the stairs, mowing the lawn, and having sex burn calories, you can’t count this as your aerobics exercise requirement unless it can fit a specific pattern. Think of it this way: the exercise you do enables you to perform physical activity better.

No Days Off?

I’m sure I lost a couple of you with this seemingly aggressive routine. It’s OK to take some breaks from your normally scheduled program, just don’t make a habit of it. If you’re sick or you’ve overdone it, take it easy for a week or so. You’ll soon be back on your game. What I love about a six-day exercise schedule is that if you miss a day, you can pick it up on your off-day, and if you miss a couple days it’s no big deal, either. Aerobic exercise is not physically demanding, and it’s not supposed to be.

Catch me Outside. How ‘bout dat?

Try to do as much of your aerobic’s program outside as you can. Breathing fresh air and getting sunshine is one of the best stress-relievers there is. You’ll need a backup plan for inclement weather.

Developing Your Aerobic Exercise Program

To separate exercise from physical activity, we can look at it like this: Physical activity is what your normal life is all about…work, hobbies, family, leisure. Exercise needs to be intentional, timed, controlled, and meaningful.

Intentional – You cannot count daily movement unless you are a foot patrolman or a mail carrier (many of whom are also overweight, by the way). Look at how the military does it; they line up every morning for PT and do an hour or so of jumping jacks, push-ups, squats, and sprints followed by several miles of marching or running. Then they go about their day of marching to and fro, learning to carry heavy packs, jumping out of airplanes, or any number of physically demanding tasks. They exercise so that they can better perform their daily movements, they never say, “Let’s skip PT this morning, guys, we have a big day ahead of us.” Daily activity doesn’t count.  You can only count it as aerobic exercise if it is done intentionally, above and beyond your normal daily life. Normal activities are great (mowing, gardening, etc.) but they are rife with problems, ie. frequent breaks, gaps between activity, and poor form. Better to mow your lawn, hoe your garden, vacuum your floor, then go for a jog or a fast walk.

Timed – You need to time your aerobic exercise session. Plan on 30 minutes a day as a minimum. One hour is better. Much more is not needed (Mann, 2014). Pro tip: Buy an inexpensive “interval timer.” With this you can time your fast and slow aerobic sessions with a loud buzzer to tell you when to switch. Once you get your routine down, timing becomes easy.

Controlled – You should tightly control your aerobic workouts. Everyone around you needs to know that at 7pm (or whenever) you are in “exercise mode.” Perhaps you need to get up at 4am to make this work. So be it. If you miss a session, you should perform it at the next available time. Let’s say you normally exercise at 5pm, right after work, at the gym. Your boss wants you to work late, kid’s project due, cat’s sick. Sure, it’s hard, but priorities people, priorities! The gym stays open ‘til 9, right? Maybe instead, go for a fast walk around your neighborhood. Live in a crappy part of town? Do jumping-jack’s and run in place for 30 minutes. Don’t want to miss Survivor? I don’t want to hear it. If this just doesn’t sound like you, if your life is in shambles and there’s no way you can control your aerobic exercise schedule, then maybe it’s time to re-evaluate what’s going on in your life. Stress is also bad, remember?

Meaningful – The 2000 Fitbit steps you get from brushing your teeth don’t count. Yeah, I wore one for a while…I know the tricks. Your aerobic exercise routine must be meaningful. Here are some good guidelines:

Moderate Aerobics: Brisk walking. This just means walking at a pace like you want to get somewhere fast, but not quite so fast you are out of breath. About 3-4 miles per hour.

Vigorous Aerobics: Work up a good sweat. Do this in conjunction with your daily walks, or in addition to the walking. This can be done in repeated short bursts that last just 30 seconds or so with a minute or two of rest in between, or a steady jog/run/speedwalk. This portion does not need to be based on running. You can do anything that makes you sweat: Sports, step aerobics, bike riding, stationary bike, elliptical machines, stair-stepper, running up and down real steps, flipping tires, or whatever you like. Join an aerobics class if you so desire, but it’s not necessary. It can be fun to do this with some friends, or alone. The goal is to get your heartrate up a bit more. Since tracking heartrate is quite cumbersome and confusing, just go until you start to get sweaty or out-of-breath.

These two meaningful routines can be combined, a sample aerobic workout schedule might look like this:

  • Mon, Wed, Fri – 60-minute walk around the track at the local park.
  • Tue, Thu – 15-minute jog around the track, followed by 15 minutes of walking.
  • Sat – 60-minute walk around your neighborhood, interspersed with 10 30-second sprints.
  • Sun – Rest, bonus, or make-up for missed days.

Another sample aerobic workout schedule:

  • Sat and/or Sun – 60-minute walk on a local walking path.
  • Mon, Wed, Fri – Stop by the gym and walk 60 minutes on a really nice treadmill.
  • Tue, Thu, Sat – Do one of the “7-minute workouts” apps available on every smartphone and virtual assistant (ie. Alexa).

Some Cool Aerobic Exercise Terms

HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training. This is basically what “running sprints” was all about in high school. With HIIT, you perform short (30 second) powerful bursts of speed broken up by longer periods (1-3 minutes) of low-intensity walking. Times of the intervals can vary, some recommend doing 40 seconds of high intensity with a 20 second rest. The key is very powerful bursts of speed interspersed with a rest cycle. HIIT lends itself well to walk/jog routines, bicycling, hill-climbing, or many machines designed to maximize HIIT (ellipticals, stair-climbers, rowing machines, etc).

LISS – Low Intensity Steady State. LISS is basically walking for a long time. With LISS, you want to get your heartrate up a bit, but not to the point where you’re out of breath or sweating. This is the “moderate” activity that everyone recommends. LISS should be performed 30-60 minutes a day, 3-7 days a week.

VO2 Max – This is the maximum volume of oxygen that your body can efficiently utilize during exercise. This measurement is used to assess cardiorespiratory (aerobic) fitness by doctors. As you exercise more, your VO2 Max increases, indicating better fitness.

MHR – Maximum Heart Rate. Expressed in “beats per minute.” When doing aerobic exercises, the goal is to make your heart pump harder, but not too hard. Most experts agree that getting your heart pumping to about 50-60% of your MHR is just right for LISS (moderate intensity) aerobics, and 70-90% for HIIT. To calculate your MHR, simply take 220 minus your age. For example, a 50-year-old person: 220 – 50 = 170 beats per minute MHR.  For exercise purposes, divide MHR by 2 for 50% of MHR, or 85 beats per minute, in this example.  You’ll find many different methods of calculating a preferred target heartrate for different styles of aerobics exercise.

KISS – Keep it Simple, Stupid.  For moderate aerobic exercise, just do it at a pace that you can easily keep up with for 30-60 minutes. To add some “vigor,” walk a bit faster for brief periods until you get a bit out of breath and start to sweat. As you get more fit, it will take more to get out of breath and sweaty. For beginners, best to keep it simple. Don’t worry about HIIT, LISS, VO2 Max, or MHR. Just get moving! Once you’re a pro, read some books and learn more about how all this works.

10,000 Steps a Day

The current craze is walking 10,000 steps a day (approximately 5 miles). This originated in the 1970’s in Japanese walking clubs and carried over to the US in the early 2000’s (Yuenyongchaiwat, 2016). Under the current usage of the idea, these 10,000 steps are not meant to be walked consecutively. Most people walk 4-6000 steps a day in normal daily activity, leaving a deficit of 4-6000 steps, requiring one to purposely walk for an extra 30-60 minutes daily.

Fitbits

I’m not a fan of electronic step trackers. They are notoriously inaccurate. I tried out a couple of old-fashioned mechanical pedometers and two types of Fitbits for a couple months last summer. I found that at a normal walking speed, I took 2000 steps per mile. Both the mechanical pedometer and the Fitbits were extremely accurate in counting steps while walking nonstop.

While wearing a mechanical pedometer, I was seeing about 5000 steps during my 7am-5pm workday, with an extra 2000 steps before and after work.  Most of these “steps” were just normal, daily activity…nothing I would count as “moderate aerobic exercise.”

When wearing a Fitbit, I saw anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 steps during my workday. A 5000-15000 step error! A quick web-search shows that this is a very common complaint and there are some hacks to increase the accuracy such as wearing the Fitbit on your left hand or decreasing the sensitivity. I tried several things, but never got the accuracy I was hoping for.

fits.PNG

My advice is to ditch the FitBits and pedometers. Walk an extra 30-60 minutes every day and don’t worry about how many steps you’ve taken. Automated step counters will mislead you into thinking you don’t need to exercise with purpose. That said, Fitbits can do some pretty amazing things like track your sleep, heartrate, and even food intake. If you’re a techie, you’ll have fun with it, but expect it to be quite inaccurate.

Conclusion

Aerobic exercise is the foundation of your fitness program. This will ensure a healthy heart and lungs. If you can continue with a well-planned, meaningful aerobics program into old-age, you’ll be so far ahead of your peers that you won’t even recognize them. You’ll be the envy of the old folks’ home (because you won’t be there). I can’t stress enough how important it is to do aerobics as simple as just walking. As you get more fit, you’ll feel like doing more. Let your body guide you in this endeavor, it won’t let you down…even if you’ve let it down. Next up: Strength training.

14 Comments on “Aerobic Exercise Primer”

  1. Fiona December 10, 2018 at 11:51 am #

    Hey Tim, you have a lot of really great information there. And you have thought of a lot of the deterrents to exercising regularly. A couple of thoughts that I have in regard to beginner exercisers (and please totally disregard these if you have already thought of them – and maybe I haven’t read everything properly) are:

    1. To a non-exerciser the thought of fitting in 30-60 minutes a day from nothing may seem too daunting. I remember when I first started running again – I was actually dead against it (because I had previously done too much too soon and burned out in a week because it was so painful and hard) but a piano student who was a personal trainer wrote me a program which started off really slowly – 20 minutes of various walk/run combinations four times a week (two of these were more ‘tough’ and two were easy). You may have already thought of this but would it assist to include a couple of “from the couch to active” schedules which starts off with 5 minutes out – 5 back and builds up to the goal. This allows beginners to jump in where they feel most comfortable. Because in reality 10 minutes walking as opposed to none in a day is a positive and may be a big achievement for a really unfit person and slowly lead to the recommended goal.

    The programs he wrote and ones I have followed usually include a rest week so for a couch person this may be week one – 5 minutes out and back 5 times, week two – 7/8 minutes out and back times 5 times, week three – 10 minutes out and back times 6, week four would be a repeat of week 2, week five a repeat of week 3 or something similar, etc.

    Everyone is different and this sort of thing may have just worked for me. I loved the programs I followed where I had an easier week because it allowed a controlled rest week and my body to adapt.

    2. This is only an idea for a very small portion of people – those going through perimenopause. This can be a time of frustrating weight-gain. Some of the reading I have done indicates that during and after perimenopause – less is more. I have found this to be true for me. I found I can more easily maintain my weight with two 25-30 minute weights sessions and two 20 minute sessions of hill “sprints”/walk recovery than when I was doing 60-90 minutes of running 4 times a week as well as two 60 minute weights sessions. I feel more energised now than I did when I was doing more exercise.

    I also find this schedule doable and I keep it non-negotiable. I have days that I do each type of exercise and stick to them as much as possible. That is something that works for me. Sunday – lower body weights, Monday – upper body weights, Tuesday – hill sprints, Friday – hill sprints.

    My husband and I also walk together anything from 0-5 times a week for 30-50 minutes but I need to be careful even with adding to much extra walking – weird!!

    Maybe this is only true for a small percentage of us and it just happens to work for me and my body type so I think it is generally applicable??

    It may not be practical to include anything about this part of the population but I had to really dig to find any information and found it extremely frustrating that there isn’t much available.

    I hope I have articulated my thoughts in a way that sort of makes sense.

    I like your writing style and I enjoyed reading “The Potato Hack” 🙂

    Like

    • Tim Steele December 10, 2018 at 6:55 pm #

      Thank you very much, yes it all makes sense.

      Like

  2. fatboymuscleman December 10, 2018 at 2:40 pm #

    My main comment is that everyone alive pretty much knows they should do 30 to 60 minutes per day of exercise.

    Just telling them to be militant or suck it up and just do it isn’t helpful.

    What they need is help motivating themselves and advice on sticking with it long term.

    Exercising with a buddy or a group is a great way to accomplish this. And studies show people exercise harder when they workout together.

    I don’t think re emphasizing the eat less move more mantra of Western health that is failing our civilization is going to work for a lot of folks.

    I’m sorry if that’s harsh, but I’m a 45 year old fat man who has been through just about every program. And I struggle with motivation, sticking with it, and fitting it into my life. And I have my entire life. I think most people are like me. Otherwise America wouldn’t be getting fatter every year.

    Like

    • Tim Steele December 10, 2018 at 7:05 pm #

      No, not harsh at all. Just what I was looking for. I guess this is one problem of just sharing an isolated chapter without the context of the others leading up. But I also want each chapter to somewhat stand on its own, and the “militant” wording does seem out of place here.

      The theme of the book is that nearly 95% of all dieters fail to keep weight off for long. Losing weight is easy in comparison to keeping it off. I explore this phenomenon throughout the book. The first 1/4 of the book talks about why we’ve become an obese nation/world, the second 1/4 discusses weight loss by looking at popular diets that work really well, the 3rd 1/4 discusses weight maintenance strategies using the lessons from the first 1/2 of the book. All through, I talk about exercise, so I needed the final 1/4 to be about how to exercise.

      I see from everyone’s comments that “motivation” needs to be addressed a bit more throughout.

      I’ve just amended today’s post to include the introduction to the exercise chapter, see what you think.

      Like

    • Fiona December 10, 2018 at 8:04 pm #

      I think you have brought up some important points.

      It is finding what motivates each of us to continue. And it may be different depending on our personality.

      For me it is the ability to workout from home whenever I want to. I use dumbbells in the garage and run out the door to the nearest hilly incline for hill-sprints. For me having to fit in with another person’s timetable, a gym timetable or drive anywhere to exercise isn’t sustainable (it took me a few wasted gym/yoga memberships to discover this).

      For others it is doing things with other people or with a class.

      For others it may be the type of exercise that motivates – tennis, team sport, dance, etc.

      And there is no right or wrong – it is ok to be different – it is the result that is important.

      I also agree with the necessity to move away from the eat less, move more philosophy. It is usually a recipe for disaster and certainly was for me in my early days of trying to lose fat – it had the opposite effect. Nowadays the only time I can ever achieve that successfully is with the potato hack where I naturally eat less – and I don’t move more – I keep it the same or a little less. And I feel great and alert and actually lose fat.

      Like

      • Tim Steele December 10, 2018 at 8:47 pm #

        Ha, that’s me to a tee. I have weights, elliptical, and treadmill at home, plus a river I canoe/swim on in the summer and snowshow/ski in winter. I hate going to the gym. In the book, I try to take the mystery out of exercising in case that’s what’s holding people back.

        It’s definitely not a CICO book, and I don’t want to insult anyone’s intelligence, but for sure eating and exercising are two pieces of the puzzle. Sleep, stress, meds, hormones, genetics, etc… all play into it. I think many people go “on a diet” lose some weight while everyone’s watching, then blow it when they try to transition to lifelong better eating and exercise (and sleep/stress/etc).

        Weight loss diets (mostly) all work really well…for weight loss. Not for keeping weight off. One of the biggest reasons for failure to maintain, according to several research papers, is “extended time on a weight loss diet.” And that’s really huge. I want to show people they can easily lose weight, if they try following any popular plan, but then they need to get off that diet and just live. Eat real food, learn to love exercise, and take care of other lifestyle factors that hold them back from achieving longterm maintenance.

        Am I just naive? Probably. But I’m already 50,000 words into it, and still have a lot of words rattling around my head, haha.

        Like

  3. Wilbur December 10, 2018 at 2:47 pm #

    Sounds good. I walk nearly every day. Usually 2-3 hours. Like to hike too.

    Just a couple of comments.

    For those of us with somewhat recent iPhones (6 in my case) there is a Health app tied to the operating system that keeps tracks of steps,mileage, and flights of stairs. The Health app on my phone does not update continuously but seems accurate by the end of the day. I compare it to another app I have called Argus that does update continuously the number of steps. I can see it add each step I take, so it is very accurate. The two apps often agree or are close enough.

    I’ve also compared the Health mileage to a GPS-based app that keeps track of mileage, pace, and several other things. I’ve found that I pretty much always walk 3.5-3.7 miles per hour, which makes it easy to convert hours walked into approximate distance when not using the app. It’s called MapMyWalk. There was a free version many years ago. I don’t know now. You can share your walks and stats with others. There are also similar running and hiking apps.

    I’ve found the iPhone Health app mileage to reasonably approximate GPS mileage – usually underestimates about 0.4 miles on an 8-mile walk. So I don’t usually use the GPS app as it drains the battery pretty fast.

    Finally, the best part of my walks are books. I love Audible, but there are others out there, some even free. I don’t know how many books I’ve listened to, but it’s a lot. I buy 24 credits at a time, so each book costs roughly $9.75. Many of the books are 10-15 hours, so you pay less than $1 per hour of entertainment. Some books (like the collected Sherlock Holmes mysteries) are more than 60 hours long and still cost about $9.75! And walks are effortless when you get distracted by a good book. And it makes it easier to get going if you’ve been left in suspense from the previous walk.

    Like

    • fatboymuscleman December 10, 2018 at 2:53 pm #

      That’s great advice!

      Google/Android devices have similar functionality called Google Fit.

      Like

    • Tim Steele December 10, 2018 at 7:13 pm #

      Thanks, Wilbur – I have the perfect place to discuss apps. I’ll talk about them a bit in the weight loss chapters, but hadn’t really thought about apps for exercise.

      Like

  4. thehomeschoolingdoctor December 10, 2018 at 5:28 pm #

    Under militant, you could suggest ways to make it “militant.” Ways you can’t squirm out of. Like scheduling it with a friend. Or at least making a friend ask you if you did it or not each day so you’re accountable. Or putting $7 in a jar and each time you walk/whatever, you get your dollar back. If you don’t, you have to donate it or give it to your spouse or something. I used to suggest to my patients that as soon as they got out of the car from working, that they just go straight for a walk around the block.

    Terri F

    Like

    • Tim Steele December 10, 2018 at 7:19 pm #

      I’ve kind of touched on this in other parts of the book, mostly as a reason why diets fail. I discussed on study where they paid people to lose weight, gave them an “intensive personalized intervention”, they had full access to support networks, etc… After 3 months, the 100 or so people had all lost lots of weight. Then they pulled all support and instructed them to keep on. Within about 6 months they all had gained almost all the weight they lost or gained.

      So, yes, I get that a social support network is critical to the success of diets, and it’s mostly missing once the weight loss portion is over. Weight maintenance is a whole different beast, people definitely need to find ways to keep motivated once the honeymoon is over and they need to keep exercising and eating right when nobody’s looking. Hard, hard, hard. Sometimes I think all this blogging and writing I do is my way to keep engaged for my own sake as much as for helping others.

      Like

  5. thehomeschoolingdoctor December 11, 2018 at 7:42 am #

    Okay, good! I have no doubt you’ve got it all covered!

    TF

    Like

  6. Jo tB December 12, 2018 at 6:46 am #

    I don’t understand why it is so difficult to keep up exercising. I have been doing it for over 20 years now. It is only one hour in my day, and that leaves 23 hours left to fill in with other things. If I have to make an appointment with my dentist or doctor I always plan it around my hour when I go to the gym. They don’t mind if I say no to their suggested time because of exercising and always get a time that is convenient to both of us, I have found that the more I disrupt my routine the more difficult it becomes to keep it up.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Robert December 13, 2018 at 4:38 am #

    Good text Tim, I like it. You write with a positive attitude that is contagious. It feels motivating to get out exercising.

    I like the militant part, but I’m not an “all or nothing” personality. If I imagine going all in military style, I maybe end up doing 70% and I’m happy about it. But others, if they fail to do it 100%, they give up. For them it is maybe better to set achievable smaller goals.

    Something that has been helpful to me is the science around forming new habits. This helped me to endure the difficult first part when starting to exercise. I told myself that the difficult part would only last for a while, later it would just become another habit, something to do without thinking too much about it, like brushing the teeth. And it really works, it becomes a habit, not a big hurdle, to go out running or to do calisthenics. Also, it gets easier and easier, and more enjoyable as the fitness level rise.

    You might also mention something about injuries. It will hurt in the beginning, but this is normal. Later, minor injuries may follow. This is also normal, and not a reason to quit exercising.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: