Focusing on the Foundations
Concentration:  Physical
Category:  Health
Goal:  Consistent exercise

If I put exercise on my resolution list, I end up feeling guilty.  But I feel guilty if it's not on my list, so it might as well stay there.

Last spring my reasonably good exercise habit was sidelined by an injury.  Nothing serious, but it hurt to walk, and since walking was the heart and soul of my exercise, all things ground to a halt for half a year.  Longer than that, actually:  I was feeling better after six months, but by then I was out of the habit and into the holidays.  But in that time I could feel my body deteriorating, much more than ever before, so I know I must make this a priority.  And an important part of the plan must be alternatives so that minor injuries don't devastate the whole enterprise.

One thing I've learned is that for me, at this point in my life, I have to make the plan simple and easy.  Part of the struggle was designing a workable metric.  After all, "consistent exercise" is not a very specific goal.  In the end, I stripped it all down to time.  More than any specific exercise goals, I just need to get moving.  I almost reduced it still further to "exercise events," i.e. one point for every time I got out the door for a walk, or took the time to do some pushups, or whatever.  However, I did want to complicate things enough to include in some way the whole trio of "frequency, intensity, and duration."  And so, voilà! the "exercise-minute."

The exercise-minute takes into account the intensity of an exercise.  For normal walking, biking, and swimming, 1 minute = 1 exercise-minute.  For running, sprint biking or really fast swimming, 1 minute = 10 exercise-minutes.  I just made that ratio up; the point isn't to be specific in terms of health benefits, but to encourage activities that will provide more cardiovascular benefits.  In addition, I want to include other exercises, such as those for flexibility, balance, and strenthening my core and upper body, and I can't do (say) 30 minutes of pushups with the ease I can walk for the same time.  For the moment, I'm using the same 10:1 ratio for these; as I said, I need to keep it simple or I will spend all my time tweaking the metric and not setting foot out of the house.

Here's what the graph looks like so far.  Like the sleep graph (and unlike the reading charts), it's not cumulative; I want to see how I do from day to day.  I began on Monday, and have as yet done nothing but walk.  But a start is a start!


Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 9:16 am | Edit
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Good for you. I always seem to have some excuse. I'll have to work on adding it to my accountability posts.


Posted by dstb on Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Go for it! Your comment that I could at least run up and down our apartment hall stairs inspired me, so while the sun sets early and the winter rages making running and biking difficult, my cardio is to try to get out my door at least once a day when the kids are happy playing and just run up and down the stairs. Something is better than nothing!

Posted by Janet on Thursday, January 17, 2013 at 3:41 pm
Foundations 2013, One Month In - Part 2
Excerpt: The second goal I set for this project was not foundational in itself, but a subset of the fundamental goal of purposeful and deliberate reading:  To read through A History of the Medieval World by February 14.  The third was to read through ...
Weblog: Lift Up Your Hearts!
Date: February 2, 2013, 8:27 am
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