My Constant Battle With Exercise
Recently, my primary care provider (PCP) told me that I need to exercise more. I think that providers are required to say this, but most of my exercise involves moving my fingers across a keyboard, so it makes sense.
I installed the Google Fit app, but it keeps bugging me. It sets high goals (at least, I think they’re high), then it taunts me by saying I should adjust them to be lower.
One day, I managed 48 “move minutes,” exceeding my daily goal, but only had 4 out of 5 “heart points” (which I get awarded if I do more vigorous activity, like running or climbing several flights of stairs).
Pretty good, right? Except, I woke up the next morning with the notification in the photo: I didn’t hit my goal. Even though I got close, I feel like I flunked.
I tried exercising outside, but it’s really cold, and gets dark early.
When I was a teenager, I wasn’t allowed to run outside in the evening, with the rationale being that I’d get run over by a car or kidnapped. Which is really, really unlikely. I think it’s far more likely that I’d die of heart disease.
Exercise is an important part of self-care, but having time to exercise is its own challenge. I work during most of the winter daylight hours. Should I adjust my goal to 30 minutes a day, which is more reasonable?
Some guidelines say that exercising 30 minutes a day is a good goal, but other research says we should at least double that.
The benefits of exercise are well documented. It greatly improves your health and lowers your risk for certain diseases. People who move a lot tend to be happier.
And exercise doesn’t have to mean doing a physical sport. Time spent cleaning counts as exercise. Doing lots of vacuuming or mopping can help you stay healthy, even if it isn’t glamorous.
The other day, I did a lot of indoor exercise. I walked up seven flights of stairs, three times (with breaks in between), netting me 6 heart points, which I get for a really intense workout.
I also made sure to walk a lot, even just to my car and back, throughout the work day. All my efforts paid off: I more than exceeded my goals for the day.
Then, the next day, the timer was reset. I was sick and pretty much stayed in bed all day. Was I tired from the exercise? Maybe. When you’re not used to a lot of physical activity, try a gradual increase, with periods of rest.
I’m not perfect, but I’ll keep trying to exercise. And now that it’s getting light out longer, I can put on my running shoes and venture outside.