21DFC Day 17 – Integrate Fitness into Your Life

This is Day 17 of the 21-Day Fitness Challenge (21DFC) for Feb 2012. View all posts made during the challenge: 21DFC Overview.

Push-Up

Hello and welcome to Day 17 (Feb 19) of the 21-Day Fitness Challenge! 😀 We now have 5 days left before 21DFC comes to a close!

21DFC Day 17 – Integrate Fitness into Your Life

Not sure if all of you saw this link in my Day 15 comment – Check out this article at Business Insider, on how sitting can kill you. (Of course, not literally – the title is a tad exaggerating, but the gist is there.)

Here’s what I felt was the crux of the article:

…the difference between the fatties and the non-fatties in the study had nothing to do with exercise. None of the folks in the “inactivity” study were allowed to exercise. The folks who didn’t get fat didn’t exercise–they just didn’t spend as much time sitting. Instead, they stood. They walked. They took stairs instead of elevators. They fidgeted. Etc.

Which ties in to today’s task – Integrate fitness into your life.

This is something I’ve been alluding to in the earlier days of the challenge, especially Day 2. If you want to make fitness a habit that sticks in your life, then it’s about learning to integrate it into your life.

What does that mean? That means that fitness isn’t just something that happens during your exercise/yoga/gym/etc sessions for X minutes a day, X times a week. It’s something that happens all the time, 24/7, for the rest of your life.

This means fitness isn’t something you do intensely for X weeks or X months to “hit” a certain goal (be it to lose weight, gain muscle mass, achieve a certain look, shed off a certain disease, etc), then stop thereafter once that goal has been reached – it’s something that you live by on an ongoing basis.

This means fitness isn’t something you try to force (i.e. pushing yourself to run when you hate running; doing resistance exercises because everyone says they are important – even though you don’t like doing them; forcing yourself to stay 1.5 hours at the gym when you really just want to work out for 30-45 minutes). Fitness should be something you do because you want to do it.

This also means that fitness isn’t something you have to deliberately *set aside* time for – it’s something you do as part of your life, as part of living.

The more you fall into the former, the less likely you’ll stick with the habit of being physically active post the challenge. The more likely you do the latter, the more likely you will naturally live true to it.

How do you integrate fitness into one’s life though? It’s simple:

  • Seek opportunities to be physically active wherever you can. Where you have 2 options, one of which requires more activity and the other which is more sedentary, pick the former. For example, walking over taking the bus for short distances (unless you’re pressed for time). Climbing the stairs over taking the lift. Opting for sports as a social activity (where possible) vs. eating/drinking/slacking. Standing over sitting. Moving over being stationary.
  • Combine fitness with other things that are already in your life. For example, fellow participant Glenn had an ingenuous plan for his 21DFC workout. He uses the oven daily (is that right, Glenn?) and always sets it for 20 minutes. Since it’s 20 minutes that he has to wait for, he takes the time to jump on his rebounder. Now, whenever he sets his oven, he knows it’s exercise time. Great plan, isn’t it? 😉
  • Do activities that you gravitate toward. Run if you like to run. Jog if you like to jog. Walk if you like to walk. Go swim if you like swimming. Go to the gym if you prefer. Dance if you enjoy dancing. Do yoga if that rocks your boat. Go for resistance exercises if they are your thing. Do whatever you normally would want to do.
  • Recognize fitness is not a one-off thing – it’s something that will be with us for life. Don’t work towards fitness as a short-term goal. See it as a life-time habit. You know, like brushing and flossing, showering, washing your face, wearing clothes, talking to people, and so on.

You don’t have to do the above for 100% of your fitness activities, but try to do that as much as you can. The more you do so, the more likely you’ll be physically active – for life.

How are you integrating fitness into your life? How can you do it even more?

Share Your Plans/Progress for Today!

What is your intended fitness plan for today? What physical activities are you going to do, and how long do you want to do them for? Share with us!

Update your progress as you go along. At the end of the day, review your progress and share your learnings.

Check out other participants’ responses and join in the discussions!

Image: Push-Up

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