Gather round chums, it’s my yearly exercise challenge (entirely unsurprising) reveal time!
Now, I don’t do New Year resolutions, but I do set a regular New Year goal. It’s very simply this – my goal is to go to the gym 150 times in the year.
If that sounds like a massive amount of exercise, it’s not really. When you break it down it’s three times a week for 50 weeks of the year. In theory we’re all supposed to exercise three times a week every week, so I’m actually doing less than that, since I give myself a fortnight off.
As to what I actually do in the gym when I get there, that’s anybody’s guess. I could just turn around and go home. But once I’m there, that is genuinely the hardest bit done. The actual exercising is relatively easy.
Right now I’m into treadmill running. The picture above is proof of the 5k distance I stumbled through on 30th December, the 150th and last session of my gym challenge for 2017.
I note each gym visit down in my diary and keep a running total like this:
So you can see that I was pretty steady throughout the year, until I started panicking in November.
I’m coming up to the 10th year of my exercise challenge now. I started it when I was 39 going on 40, and here I am 49 going on 50 and still plugging away. It hasn’t made much of a physical difference – I still look like a chubby Eighties throwback – but I’m very sturdy and hardly ever get ill.
I have quite strong abs, though they are well-lagged by a layer of pizza and Christmas cake. I see all of this as an investment in my health for the next decade. So I guess I will start to feel the benefits of the exercise I did a decade ago kicking in round about now. I want to stay active for as long as I can, and as far as I can see the way to do that is by being active now.
The big challenge this year has been that I moved from working from home, and having total autonomy over my time, to working in an office and being at somebody else’s beck and call from 9:30 to 6pm. So my lunchtime gym sessions had to become evening ones, which is a right royal pain in the bum but there you go.
So if you are aiming to exercise more in 2018, I have two pieces of advice for you:
- You don’t have to feel like doing it. You just have to do it. Many people feel like doing things, but then don’t. Or they do things that they don’t really feel like. It’s not the same thing.
- Try out every exercise you can, even the things you think you won’t like, at least once. This is how you’ll find the type of exercise you like enough to want to keep doing. Make a list of everything that’s available to you, from free YouTube videos to whatever classes are on in your local church hall. Then, don’t wait until you feel like it. Just do it. Make like Nike and Just Do It.
Are you taking on an exercise challenge in 2018? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear about it
You may also enjoy reading:
- Five mental health benefits of exercise
- What I learnt from doing adult ballet
- What to wear at the gym