Starting a Daily Workout Habit

Keeping it simple and building up steadily over time

Two weeks ago I started a daily workout habit. Well, I’m not sure if it’s a habit yet. But I fully intend to turn it into one. I’ve been going for a walk every day for the last three months (rain or shine), and the timing seemed right to start another health-conscious habit.

I started this daily workout routine to move my body more, build up my strength, and take care of my heart. I don’t want various muscles to atrophy over time. I’d like to keep doing my daily workout routine until I’m no longer able to (hopefully for many decades). I just want to take care of myself and my body. I have no goals other than to do it every single day.

On the first day, I started by doing some arm, leg, back, and hand stretches and then 20 push-ups and 40 crunches. It took me about five minutes. I did that for the next five days and have been introducing new steps every few days like yoga poses.

The routine right now is:

  • Stretching
  • Mountain yoga pose
  • Warrior yoga pose
  • 20 push-ups
  • 30 leg raises
  • 50 crunches

My current routine takes me about 10 minutes.

I spent a lot of my pre-teen and teen life lifting weights, playing sports, running, and being more active. In recent years, I’ve instead stuck to just walking and riding my bike. I’ve tried to get back into running a few times, but it hasn’t stuck yet.

Past me would have taken a much more drastic approach to starting a daily workout routine. I would have signed up for a yoga studio or joined a gym or bought some expensive equipment before I even started, like some ill-fitting sweat-wicking shirts and shorts. Definitely new shoes, maybe a fitness tracker. But I’ve learned through experience that spending a bunch of money on something doesn’t motivate me to keep doing it for very long.

I would have set goals for myself like being able to lift so much weight or drop so many pounds. But what happens when I reach those goals? Do I set new goals? I don’t really care about how much I can lift or my exact weight. I care about my holistic physical, mental, and spiritual health. I care about making it a habit.

I haven’t spent any money yet. I use the yoga mat I already own. I wear my pajamas. I don’t want my routine to be dependent on location or access or equipment. I want to be able to do it wherever, whenever.

Through my creative, meditation, and walking habits, I’ve found much greater success with starting something with the intention of it being a habit. Then cultivating that habit and steadily growing it over time. For example, my meditation practice. I started at 5 minutes. Almost a year later, I’m at 15 minutes. I don’t have a goal with how long I want to ultimately meditate for each day. I just increase the time after a few weeks when it feels right, and I see how it goes.

Working out has been going well. I’m feeling a little stronger and more flexible. I workout right after I meditate. I love doing it in the morning. It sets the rest of my day up for success.

I’ll continue to expand my workout routine as the habit solidifies and my strength grows. I’m interested in incorporating more yoga. I’d also like to use some free weights and a pull-up bar, but I’m taking it slowly. I’ll definitely share how it continues to go.

Author: Brett Chalupa

day: software developer, night: comic artist

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