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Welcome back to Simple Daily Steps!

If you’ve been following along, this is the 5th lifestyle habit that I’ve introduced. You can go back to the blog and visit, or revisit, the past 4 habits. Or you can start right here!

As an athlete, a health coach, and a nurse I often get asked the same questions and one of the most common questions that I hear is “what is more important, exercise or nutrition?”

Honestly, I believe that nutrition is more important than exercise but only because when you begin giving your body what it needs, you’re in a better position to move your body with joy, energy, and purpose. If you feel like shit,  you’re just not going to exercise so nutrition is the foundation for being able to move and it’s where we start. The good thing is that nutrition, and exercise, don’t have to be an either or, nor do they have to be a huge deal. SIMPLE STEPS!!! 

With that said, let’s take a look at this week’s habit:

Getting Your Heart Rate Up!

So there’s two parts to today’s habit.

The first part is to spend a few minutes looking back at the last week and honestly assessing how often you exercised. It doesn’t matter if your answer is zero minutes or 300 minutes, the point here is to know  your starting point.

The second part of today’s habit is to get your heart rate up for a  specific amount of time. If you exercised for 300 minutes last week, then your goal will be different than the person who exercised 0 minutes last week. 

Here’s how you determine a reasonable exercise goal for today:

If you exercised last week, then what was the average length of time that you exercised? For example, if you exercised 5 times for 30 minutes, then that’s easy, your average would be 30 minutes. That’s your goal for today PLUS 3-5 minutes.

If you exercised for 0 minutes last week then your starting point is 5-20 minutes. 

Take small steps here and create a pattern of success. 5 minutes may not seem like much, but it’s 5 minutes more than you have been doing and then next week when you add a few minutes, it’ll feel easy and you’ll have created a time and a place for it. You have to KNOW that you can accomplish this goal. If you’re like, “I don’t know, this may be too much, I’m not sure I can do it, then reduce the time that you’re going to exercise.

A little story about me….

After I had my second child (and hadn’t exercised in about 6 years), I knew I needed to exercise to lose the baby weight and to get into better shape. I decided that all that I could do was 5 minutes a day. So for a week, I got on the elliptical machine for 5 minutes. The next week I added 2 minutes and exercised for 7 minutes a day. Yes, the first few weeks it felt like I just got started and then I was getting off the machine, but I was able to commit to it and I began to make time and space for that 5 minutes. And it was easy to add a few minutes each week. Nothing huge, just a few minutes. 

Eventually, I got to the point where I was feeling great and had created a habit of exercising for an hour a day (with one day off for rest and mobility).

Point being…baby steps can get you where you want to go.

***** You don’t have to do the exercise all in one go. For example, if you’re exercising for 20 minutes, you can break that up into 4 five minute sessions. Just accumulate 20 minutes where you feel your heart beating faster. (or shoot for a heart rate of 180-your age)

***** It doesn’t matter what you do for exercise. Walk, run, jump rope, dance, swim, roller skate, kickbox, lift weights, do push-ups…do what you like to do. You can also do a variety of things!


Of all the habits, it’s possible that you find this the most challenging. We struggle to fit exercise into our day, especially if we don’t like to exercise. Little secret…exercise is always difficult, even if you’re doing something that you love, but sooner than you think, you’ll start to reap the benefits including increased happiness, weight loss, and more energy. So be patient, persistent, and trust that you’re taking care of your health. 

How many minutes are you starting with? Keep in mind that if you haven’t exercised ever or in a very long time then it’s honestly a really good idea to start with 5 minutes. You’re developing a habit right now and it needs to be easy. Decide, and write down, the number of minutes you’re going to exercise every day. 

What are you going to do for exercise/movement? It can be ANYTHING! Burpees, jump rope, jog, walk, get on a bike, dance, or pilates. You decide. 

When are you going to move your body/exercise? Schedule it! Write down on your daily planner when you’re going to do this.  If you KNOW you’re going to struggle to create this habit, consider doing it first thing in the morning. Get it done before the day gets away from you.

What do you need? We’re talking about equipment here. Do you need speakers so you can dance? Do you need a yoga mat? Jogging/walking shoes? A kettlebell? A bike and a helmet? 

What will you do to motivate yourself? (My secret is to just get dressed for exercise/movement.  Making the decision to get dressed isn’t difficult and once you’re dressed for it, you might as well move your body!)

What will you do to celebrate your success? Sometimes rewards can help us stay motivated. How can you reward yourself? For example, if you’re deciding to run, maybe after keeping your commitment for a month, you can get yourself a pair of cute running shoes. 

How many minutes will you add to your routine next week? (I strongly recommend adding no more than 5 minutes. Keep it doable. If you did 5 minutes this week, then you KNOW you can do 7 minutes next week. Create a pattern of success.)

Questions? Post to comments! 


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