Ever wonder how someone keeps going with an exercise streak? For that matter, ever wonder how a person gets started with an exercise streak in the first place?
I’m a huge fan of rest days, and I’ve never been one to advocate for exercise streaks. Not because I’m against doing an exercise streak, but because life is more important to me than keeping a streak going — and I know that I’m likely to choose warmth and comfort (and sleep!) over exercise, especially when it’s below zero outside and I would have to go outside again when I’ve already suffered through freezing temps once or twice on a given day.
Call me a freeze-baby, and I won’t argue with you. I know my limits. Though I love running outside throughout the year, when the temperature drops into the single digits I want to be warm and cozy.
…Any yet it’s the beginning of August and yesterday was day 137 of my walking streak.
K and I started walking in mid-March when our Rec Center closed due to the pandemic. I suggested we walk daily, thinking that it would be a way for the two of us to keep moving until we settled into a new exercise routine. Now we’ve gotten used to walking, even on days when I run or strength train. Walking has become a regular part of our day.
I’m not sure we’ll keep going with this when the weather turns cold. I am sure that we’ll find a new routine that keeps us happy and healthy, if and when we decide that walking daily isn’t what we wish to do.
For me, exercise is a non-negotiable item. I exercise regularly. Period. I’m not super-picky about what I do for exercise, but it is absolutely non-negotiable that I exercise on a consistent basis.
Also, in the absence of structure created by external commitments, walking is now helping to create structure. Where driving used to provide a break between work and the rest of the day, walking has become the new transition activity.
Have you thought about what activities are must-do items in your life? Is exercise one of those things? When you categorize exercising as a non-negotiable activity, like sleeping or eating, you make the time to include your workout in your schedule.
Additionally, when you attach exercise to your identity and make fitness part of who you are, it’s more likely that you will continue to exercise consistently.
Once you’ve formed a habit, continuing with the habit becomes easier.
Exercise streaks can help you to build a consistent habit (especially if you are new or returning to exercise), though, depending on the selected activity, you may increase your risk of injury. If you are thinking about beginning an exercise streak, consider shorter streaks and/or activities that have a lower associated risk of injury.
Whether you are thinking about starting (or continuing) an exercise streak or not, figuring out why you wish to change your behavior and what you will gain from the experience may help you to rank exercise in relation to other activities in your life and, ultimately, create a fitness plan that works for you.