Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Add it all up; The "Accumulation Approach" to health

Maybe it's due to me being at the "ripe old age" of 36 now.... 

Maybe it's due to being an entrepreneurial family and keeping busy most days... 

Maybe it's my career experience coming into play....

Or maybe it's simply the chapter of life I'm in now...  

One thing is for certain, 2018 has brought back consistency in my activity;  and with my busy lifestyle, it's come back in the form of little bits throughout the day.  

Science has shown us that we can reap excellent health benefits by accumulating exercise throughout the day, and that it doesn't have to come in the form of a 1-hr killer workout straight through.
The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines suggests for adults;

"To achieve health benefits, adults aged 18-64 years should accumulate at least 150-minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10-min or more,"

*Think about that;  that's the same amount of time 
as a chat at the office 
water cooler or a coffee break*

In addition, the guidelines recommend at least 2 days per week of strength activities.  (Take note of the "at least" in both recommendations.)

Like I said, the timing is really not much.  Rather than standing around during your coffee break (or sitting), why not go for a nice walk for your 10min... and ideally outside in the fresh air.  Believe it or not, you can still chat with your colleague at the same time! 

Here's an example of my day today to give you an idea of how breaking up your bouts of activity can be done;

6:45am  - Morning 5km on the bike (it's starting to get light out at that time so soon I'll be outside for a 15-20min walk to start my days). 

8:45am - Walk to school with my 9-year old.  We usually stop in to see my wife at our cafe (The Artizen Cafe) on the way.   And to grab a coffee for the trek.  :) 

9:10-9:15am - We get to the school, hugs and kisses before she heads over to see her friends, and then I pop in my headphones and a podcast or audiobook for my walk home.  

12:15pm - Workout after my morning client(s).  Followed by my post-workout meditation.  

If we total up the duration spent active, it works out to 62-80min of activity by 1pm.  

Is there any way I could find an hour straight to do activity in my days???  NOT A CHANCE!!! 

This is what has finally clicked for me (and it only took 15+ years of doing this... LOL) Workouts / activity don't need to be "unbelievable, ground breaking, instagram worthy, hashtag producing puke fests" in order to feel great!  They need to be consistent, some challenging, and they need to be simple. 

I'm enjoying the "accumulation" approach very much for a few reasons;  

  1. It's easier to fit things in, and to fit it in with less pressure to "hurry up"
  2. My longer workouts are planned in my calendar during times in my week where I know I have a buffer zone both before and after my workout (just in case).  
  3. It harmonizes with life.  Life is a balance of work/play and rest.  By doing various bouts of activity throughout your day, you're doing exactly that;  Active... Rest...Active ....Rest. 
  4. It seems easier mentally to chip away at improving your health. It may just be me, but when my days are full of accumulative bouts of activity/exercise, it balances with the premise of doing small changes to get big results.  My runs increase ever so slightly each week, my weights and volume in my weight routines work the same, my habits pre-bed time change gradually and not all at once...
We're not elite athletes. We're every day people working to build a happy and healthy life, while providing for our family.  Stop seeking the "crazy" and being stressed for your lack of success.  

Seek balance, consistency and enjoy.