This is the number a person needs to go past in order NOT to be considered an exercise dropout.
According to the American College of Sports Medicine, at a minimum, exercise should be done for 30 minutes on 5 days of the week, for more than three months. This person is recognized as one who engages in regular exercise for health benefits.
In the beginning, three months seems like an eternity. But viewed through the lens of a whole life, it is more like a single snowflake in a two foot pile.
Three months becomes the challenge – what I will, I can. I won’t be THAT dropout. I will fight through this, one day at a time. I have a dream of a healthier me.
In a sublime and beautiful way, thinking begins to change, from “I have to exercise today” to “I need to exercise today.”
With that in mind, I find my walk is one of the first things I plan in the morning, everything else in the day revolves around it. My health becomes the priority.
Throughout my career, as I readied myself in the morning, I noticed a change in my thinking. For example, instead of planning what I would wear to work, I started to think about when and where the exercise in my day would take place – before or after school, in the morning or afternoon, by myself or with friends? I didn’t think about exercise as medicine, but I did think it was like a vitamin, vitamin X! I needed my vitamin X everyday.
Packing an exercise bag the night before, making a plan with someone for a specific date and time, or keeping a daily journal are all ways to reinforce commitment. Setting goals for weight loss and/or improving strength and flexibility also keep us on target with motivation and focus. Deciding to make some minimal changes to diet, such as becoming aware of excess fats, sugars and salt can invigorate us, we feel cleaner in our food choices. Our bodies are becoming more efficient. Our minds are becoming more committed to change.
Three months should not be an end – but a beginning to a better lifestyle. When it comes to health, lifestyle behaviors trump heredity. We have some control over some disease – this is called prevention. An amazing quality of the human body is – it’s never too late to start.
The benefits of a healthy lifestyle can certainly overcome the barriers to the work if we allow a change in our thinking. We will slowly and surely become the dream we have in our heads of a healthy us.