The role of habit

I love to read about productivity and planning as a part of fitting in all the activities I want to do. Establishing habits is one of the ways to put an activity on auto-pilot. Of course developing the habit takes some mastery but once in place it becomes a part of us.

Exercise is a common habit for some of us, and it is an important theme in anti-aging, or healthy aging literature, and sometimes it is hard to know where to start if it is not a part of our lifestyle.

One of the productivity blogs I like to read is by Laura VanderKam.  She recently wrote a book titled, Tranquility by Tuesday, in which she outlines 9 “rules” to consider when planning your time.

One of the rules, Move by 3pm caught my eye.  If you already exercise regularly, that is fantastic, but if you struggle with fitting exercise into your daily life then this “rule” may help you out. 

 What I like about this rule is that is not necessarily about regular formal exercise.  It is about moving for 10 minutes to get the blood flowing and the brain woken up.  It is basically about shaking off the cobwebs.

Consider the simplicity of walking (one of many activities you could choose).

It can be as easy as donning some good shoes, comfortable clothes for the weather, and stepping out the door. Please don’t let anyone tell you that it’s too easy or that it is not exercising. We all start somewhere and walking is accessible for most of us. Our bodies need to move to keep our internal systems working optimally.  And, the benefit can be one of increased health, slowing down the ageing process, boosting our energy and helping us to sleep.

  • How? Put on a pair of good shoes (no flip flops) and take a stroll around the block. If you are already walking, shorten your stride a bit and pick up the pace, perhaps in short intervals. Incorporate stairs or hills if you are looking for an extra challenge. Start hiking, they are longer walks with more nature and varied terrain.
  • Who? Anyone! Do you like meeting up with a friend and socializing as you walk? Perhaps you treasure a nice long quiet walk on your own, to get the creative thoughts rolling (take an audio recorder to get those ideas down) Are you a scheduled morning or lunchtime walker? Are you the person who likes to walk when the whim strikes?
  • When? Some individuals need routine, some like to have a walking partner, some see themselves as a fit person and walking is their thing. As long as you know yourself and enjoy the process, being regular or being consistent will help you reap the benefits.
  • Why? It feels good; Strengthen the body, the heart and lungs; Improve energy levels; Help sleep; Manage weight.

I am working at putting a walk out of doors into the daily schedule. Sometimes it is a walk to and from work, or a walk to get an errand done, and sometimes it doesn’t get done. Always a work in progress.