It isn’t all or nothing

Monday was one of those go-go-go days. I was seriously been busy from the moment I woke up: I took laundry down to the basement before I even paused to brush my teeth. (I did that right afterward. Don’t judge.)

On the checklist: laundry, grocery shopping, some advance cooking, homework and walking Tracker — all before 2 p.m., when I had to go to work for the rest of the night.

Even though it was busy and even though I had a weekend full of good workouts, I still decided it was worth it to squeeze in a little extra physical activity. So, during my 20-minute period allotted for downtime, I turned on Property Virgins and did a little living room boot camp. A few sets of crunches, a few sets of lunges and two brutal minutes of the plank. When it was time for me to head into work, I decided to take long walking route. All in all, it wasn’t any kind of a marathon, but it was enough for me to feel a slight burn.

In the past, these kinds of workouts would have seemed pointless to me. I looked at working out as an “all-or-nothing” endeavor.

If I was going to ride my bike, I was going to ride my bike for at least one hour.

If I was going to go on a run, I was going to run at least three miles.

If I was going to lift weights, I was going to lift weights for at least three sets per exercise.

Now, I see that workouts really don’t have to be that black or white. It’s perfectly fine for me to have a long session one day and a quick workout the next. The ultimately goal is just about staying active.

I think this mentality is especially detrimental to people who are beginning to get into workout routines. It seems as if there is always new research saying that there is now an even higher bar for how much adults should workout. In fact, the Department of Health and Human Services is now suggesting that adults get a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity and 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity per week.

What that fast-and-furious blurb fails to explain is that those periods can be broken up into multiple sessions. Do a little here and a little there… It’s more about the total than the individual time periods.

Of course, depending on the ultimate goal, 20 occasional minutes isn’t going to result in incredible weight loss or strength. The short sessions really need to be combined with longer, more vigorous sessions — just not every single day.

Besides, even if none of those are factors, doing a few crunches sure beats vacuuming the carpet.

Questions: Are you a fan of marathon sweat sessions or short and sweet exercises?


3 responses to “It isn’t all or nothing

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