No, I do not mean as in corporeal, I want a physical life as in physically active life.
Here are my goals for more physically active life:
Find the time and energy. This certainly won’t be easy, but if I want to be more physically active, I have to do this. I think, at least at first, this will mean doing things at home and at odd hours. I’m not a morning person, but the morning is when I can make a little time and have yet to be worn out from the day. At least right now, Katie is a bit of a late riser so I can go for morning walks or do some exercises without really disrupting anyone else.
Develop a routine/pattern. This is the hardest thing for me, but if I can develop an activity routine, it will be better in the long run. One thing that I’m doing currently is starting a morning walk the dog routine. Rio is much better at developing a routine than I am. After a couple of days of getting up early to walk her around the neighborhood, she now wakes me up before the alarm clock, ready to go out. So far, it has only been about two weeks, but I’m getting used to it.
Take small steps to build on the routine. Once I’ve established a routine, it will be easier to build little things into it. The idea is to build slowly. First the walking, then maybe add some calisthenics (getting the blood pumping). This is where those short burst exercise routines may be good. My plan is to try to add something every two weeks. Since time is limited and I don’t want this to be an integrated part of my life (not the focus of my life), I’ll try to keep it in a limited time frame. It isn’t going to develop into some 2 hour every morning workout, but maybe I try to increase the distances and keep the time the same.
Understand that progress may be slow and set back might occur. This is the “just keep swimming” theory. This is just a part of my whole life, at times it may need to be set aside. Routines might get broken up by life events. When the opportunity reemerges, make sure to hop back on.
Be somewhat flexible. While routines are great, the reality is that sometimes life takes precedents. Maybe I can’t get out in the morning, but an afternoon walk is possible. That is OK. Maybe I can’t walk, but there is time later for a bike ride. It is OK to have exchanges, but the “somewhat” part comes from knowing myself. I can’t allow myself to make cheap promises. The idea of “I’ll sleep in this morning, but I’ll go for a walk this afternoon” is ok, but I know that afternoon walks don’t always happen. If nothing is really impeding the routine, I need to not make these kind of trade-offs. This also can go for being flexible inside of a routine. Doing some different things inside a routine, to keep it from getting boring.
Track it. I love my Nike+ app on my phone. I keep track of the miles walked (I’m over 500 since I down loaded the app – with the majority coming in 2013-14). It gives me a tangible feeling of accomplishment. I can see the number from the week/month/year and know that I’ve be physically active.
Take advantages of opportunities to be physically active. If I can reasonably walk to the grocery, I should. If I can spend a day paddling my kayak, I should take that opportunity. If there is time in the afternoon for a walk with Sara and Kate, I should do that. These don’t occur every day, but being open to them when they do occur will go a long way towards building my physically active life.
Set some physical benchmarks to achieve. While the tracking gives a feeling of progress day to day, setting some physical benchmarks provides something to strive for. There are many I can set, in the intermediate term, but these are the main benchmarks I’ve thought about.
- Walk 30 miles in a month, 365 in a year.
- Be able to go up two flights of stairs without being a huffy puffy mess
- Be able to run/jog one mile in under 15 minutes.
- Be able to walk/jog a 5k in 45 minutes
- Be able to walk/jog a 10k in under 2 hours.
- Be able to do 25 pushups and 25 sit-ups in a row
Keep it up and in balance. Perhaps the biggest thing is to keep being physically active in balance with the rest of my life. Once I’ve started to do these things and met some of the physical targets, I have to remember that those are just benchmarks. Points along the way to let you know you’ve improved your physical shape. They are not stopping points. But at the same time, they don’t need to be escalated. I just want to reach a point where I feel good, and am physically active enough. I don’t want to become the world’s strongest man or the world’s fattest marathon runner, I just want to be able to run around with Kate.
So that is it. Those are my goals for a more physically active life. Hopefully they will coincide well with my healthier life goals to produce a more durable Jason. A Jason who, despite being 39 at the point of his daughter’s birth, will still run and play and coach and laugh and roll down hills with her for many, many years to come.
1This is true to a point. As long as my health and ability to act fully as a father/husband/employee are not impacted, my level of physical activity does not impact anyone else.