For several weeks my schedule has gotten the best of me and all efforts at working out have fallen by the wayside. So, I decided to think about fitness, motivation and the “MED” (minimum exercise dose) to maintain fitness. Here’s what I came up with:
1. Consistency, not quantity is essential.
- 10-20 minutes “every” day (i.e. 5 or 6 days a week) is really better than 60 minutes once a week. Google “ten minute workouts” and you’ll find a huge number of workouts to do (or buy).
- Concentrate on just increasing the time you move. Consider using a pedometer (cheap) or one of the more expensive monitors, like the Apple Watch.
2. Planning helps.
- If you are working 12 hour days “fitting it in” won’t work. We are all human, and the call of the couch is too strong when you are tired. Make a plan for the week (before you are tired).
- Pack a gym bag for the day or the week and keep it in your car or your call room
- If you are going to exercise in the morning before you go to school/work, get all your clothes and shoes out the night before
3. Having a goal works better than not having a goal.
- You can use published guidelines as your goal like the CDC guidelines for exercise or the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports,. If you want to really push yourself, look at the fitness tests from The President’s Challenge, the Marine Corp, or the FBI.
- Set a goal for consistency like a “streak” of exercise i.e. how many consecutive days you’ve been able to exercise.
- Pick an event in the future to train for like a bike ride, race, hiking trip, climb, etc.
4. At some point you just have to decide it’s important.
- There are a lot of people around all of us who somehow figure out how to stay fit with the same busy schedule that we have. Somehow they make it a high enough priority to “just do it”. It’s doable, so our excuses are just that… excuses. (Darn)
- 31 Ways to Motivate Yourself to Exercise from Zenhabits.com
- Top 7 Keys To Motivation For Exercise! from Greg Landry
- Getting Motivated to Exercise by Paige Waehner
I think this is one of the places where I’ve really dropped the ball the past 2+ years of medical school. It is SO hard to find time to exercise. These are great tips, though! thanks for sharing!
I’m grappling with this as I start residency. I’d like to set up good habits now, but am having trouble with motivation. Thanks for the help, and get used to seeing me on this blog. It’s a great resource 🙂
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