Did You Forget to Exercise Today?

(Remember to follow my Facebook Page to get my daily video updates on our cycling adventure across America. Starting next week my Thursday blog will be a weekly update on our ride. After we finish, I will go back to my normal posts.)

It is unbelievable how often I find myself saying “I forgot to exercise today.” Although I planned to exercise, and it was on my to-do list, somehow the day ended without getting my exercise done. Why does this keep happening?

What’s the use of arriving at retirement with enough money to do whatever we want, without the physical vibrancy to do anything? Make sure you do your part to reach retirement with a body that can do the things on your bucket list.

We all have busy lives, with more to do than time allows. I frequently overfill my to-do list for the day with so many things that it is impossible for me to do all of them. Then, at the end of the day, I feel like I failed because I left so many things undone. Some of those things have been forwarded to the next day’s list multiple times, yet they are still not done. 

The things that are very important, but don’t have a deadline, often get passed over for things that are less important but do have a deadline. Urgent issues frequently crowd out important issues. We can’t let that pattern continue. Things like exercise and sleep are continually sacrificed to the god of urgency. Leaving us without the energy to do the things on our list.

Pick an activity

We must find ways to be sure we get the exercise we need to stay healthy and vibrant. When my patients would ask me what exercise they should do, I always answered the same way, “the one you will do.”

Putting an exercise activity on your schedule that you hate doing will result in failing to exercise. That is a sure-fire way to kick that can forward to tomorrow. It is imperative you find an activity you like to do. As long as you get your heart rate up into the aerobic level, or tax some muscle groups, your body benefits from the exercise. 

There are so many ways to exercise that you should be able to find something to your liking: Running, swimming, walking, shoveling, raking leaves, using a walking lawnmower, climbing, dancing, biking, hiking, jazzercise, body pump, soccer, basketball, racquetball, squash, tennis, pickleball, spin class, P90X, turbo jam….

I personally like cycling, walking, and video fitness classes in my home. 

Find a partner

I have found that my likelihood of succeeding to exercise everyday dramatically improves if I have an exercise partner. 

Back in 2009, my kids and I were on a bicycle racing team. My wife and I owned a tandem bicycle as well. Almost every day, I was asked to go for a bike ride by one of my racing teammates, my wife, or my kids. That period in my life was probably my most successful at staying in good physical shape. With so many exercise partners, there was always someone who wanted to work out.

Team up with people who like to do the same activity as you and you will have very few days that you forgot to exercise.

Join a group

There are so many exercise groups available to join you should have no problem finding one you like. The local YMCA has year-round seasonal group team sports to join. Once you are on a team, you will have a schedule to keep that will motivate you to exercise. Worse case, you get a workout on game day.

City leagues, local gyms, cycling teams, bike shops are some examples of places to find groups of like-minded people who want to get moving. If you have a special target, such as walking the Camino de Santiago, you can search for others with the same goal to connect. We found a group that meets monthly for lectures and hiking.

Take a class or join a club

Dancing is a great form of exercise. Sign up for dance lessons or a dance class and you will get a bonus date night at the same time. Who doesn’t like a chance to hold their sweety? There are several organizations in your area who put on classes that can get your heart rate up. 

Joining a club is another way to get moving. There are so many different exercise clubs you should be able to find one to your liking. I have friends in tennis clubs, pickleball clubs, cycling clubs and hiking clubs to name a few. 

My local bike shops have group riding days. I currently have been doing a Wednesday night mountain bike group ride for over a year.

Buy good equipment

You will not successfully engage in an activity if you don’t have the right equipment for success. If you are joining a tennis league, buy a couple of very good rackets so you will never blame the equipment for your lack of exercise. If you have money, always buy equipment near the top teer. 

A few years ago, I found myself out of the habit of cycling. My team folded, my kids went off to college and the number of people contacting me to ride plummeted. Consequently, my riding fitness level fell. When my son returned to Grants Pass from college, he started asking me to go on bike rides. I kept saying I was not in shape to keep up with him so it wouldn’t be fun for either of us. He recommended that I get an e-bike so I could keep up.

After several months of his suggestions, I investigated getting an e-bike. I found that a big demographic purchasing high end e-bikes were cyclists who had moved up in age and could not quite keep up with the younger riders. The e-bike gave them a little boost and suddenly they could keep up with the bunch.

I took an e-bike for a test ride and decided I needed to have an e-bike. Now that I have a bike that can do the job, I am out riding again and getting a great aerobic workout. 

Schedule an Adventure

Nothing beats a deadline to spur us into action. If there is an adventure you have always dreamed about that requires preparation, put it on your calendar.

I wanted to walk the Camino de Santiago in Spain for several years. One day a friend mentioned she and her daughter were going the following May; we asked if we could join them. Suddenly the 450-mile walk was on the calendar for the following spring. We had a lot of work to do to prepare for our new adventure.

With an adventure on the calendar, we had to get walking. We needed to be able to walk fifteen miles a day. Day after day. It turned out that cycling was not good preparation for walking. They use different muscles and walking involves gravity pounding on joints. Consequently, when we started training, I could only walk one mile before my hips and knees hurt. 

So, we started walking one mile a day on a track where there was a rubberized, low impact surface. When I was able to walk a few miles, we moved to dirt and later to concrete walking surfaces. 

Within a few months I could walk six miles, three times a week without any difficulty.

Having a taxing adventure on the calendar moves exercise from the non-urgent to the urgent category. An upcoming bike race, epic hike, triathlon, half-marathon, or anything else you can put on the calendar to motivate you will get you moving. 

My next epic adventure

A few weeks ago, my son asked me if I would join him on a bicycle ride across America. We have been riding bicycles lately and we are in decent biking shape. So, we have put it on the calendar to leave for our starting point on April 1st and begin our ride on April 2nd.

With an adventure on the calendar, I started preparing by increasing the frequency and length of my bike rides. With such short notice, I don’t know if any of us are truly ready for this, but ready or not, here we come. We can start out a little slower and ride ourselves into shape during the adventure.

Next week I will fill you in on the details of what it took for us to get ready for this adventure. Then every week I will provide an update as we make our way from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. I hope you will follow along with us.

Use our adventure to spark one of your own. Get out and exercise. The future you depends on it. The more you exercise, the lower the chances you will retire and say, “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up.”

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1 thought on “Did You Forget to Exercise Today?”

  1. Should be a fantastic adventure with your son, Cory!
    I had wanted to do the same many years ago. Who knows, maybe this will inspire me!
    I look forward to following your journey.


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