It occurred to me that the "15-minute workout" could perhaps be one of those crazy fads that some fitness guru made up to make a quick buck. A fad that Dr. Oz would promptly squash, reminding us that change requires effort, while providing us with useful tips on how to stay motivated. In my office, I am surrounded by staffers that participate in not one, but several of the following activities: surfing, hiking, rock climbing, standup paddling, yoga, skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, cycling, running...shall I go on? Essentially, they are ready to go at a moment's notice, with whatever gear their particular outing requires because it's stuffed under, above, and between their desks. Here's the thing, some days I find it exhausting just watching them go about their day--they cycle in, head out for a midday surf, and yes, ride that same bike home. But despite my somewhat sedentary ways, staying in shape is important to me--if for no other reason than to hold on to my jean size. Photo: Mary Helen Bowers of Ballet Beautiful
So I did a little digging, and it appears that this compact workout is, in fact, not a ruse-we can get results in 15 minutes! The Huffington Post recently reported that some research has suggested that a short blast of intense exercise can boost metabolism, and that a regular exercise regimen, even one that is just 10 minutes per day, can make an impact. That said, know that not every workout is the same--note the word "intense." How "intense" is intense? I'll leave that to you to determine, but my guess is that if your heart rate hasn't changed, you may as well just take a coffee break and call the whole thing off.
On the workout front, it seems that there are more than a few fitness mavens catering to our cramped schedules, and short attention spans. Conveniently, these 15-minute gems are also quite budget friendly when you consider the cost of a yoga, spin, or CrossFit class. If the bar method sounds like something you'd like to belly up to, check out Mary Helen Bowers, of Ballet Beautiful, and her series of short streaming videos. Another fan favorite, and business partner of Gwyneth Paltrow, is Tracy Anderson, whose viral videos are easy to download and travel with--like the one below that I found on GOOP.com. At the end of the day (or the beginning) whatever my feeling about exercise, dedicating to a 15-minute program is something that even I can get behind.
So how are those New Year's resolutions going? Not so good? I relate. For every new habit I've attempted to create, there are five distractions foiling my best intentions. For example: Those new running shoes that I spent a small fortune on. (Because who can start a new running program with old shoes?) That intention resolved after week three. My ban on sugar went out the window when Cupid flew in, with a box of See's chocolates. Have just one, you say? Oh, OK--willpower is totally my strength.
Admissions of failure aside, it was time to take a hard look at the situation and find out exactly what was undermining my ability to create a new habit. With coffee in hand on a recent morning--don't get me started on this one--I formed an easy question, and directed it to my oracle of choice: the world wide web. I'm happy to report that what popped up on my laptop screen, and put my anxiety at ease, is that I am not alone! If you're struggling with the inability to stick to the change that you'd like to manifest in your world, let me introduce you to some good advice from Barrie Davenport, the co-creator of The Habit Course, Create New Habits for Life.
After all, spring is a season of rebirth--why not resurrect a goal or two? Here are some tips, based on Davenport's recommendations, for creating new habits:
1. Make a plan-get yourself (and those around you) mentally, physically, and emotional ready.
2. Start small-break down your main goal into several mini goals, so that you're not overwhelmed immediately by the change.
3. Take your time-if your goal is to run for 50 minutes, start with 10.
4. Remind yourself-when we "forget" that often has a snowball effect; create a reminder for yourself where it's visible.
5. Create accountability-tell someone and everyone about your new commitment.
6. Acknowledge your success-plan a reward system to keep yourself motivated.
7. Communicate--get your friends and family prepared for the changes you're making.
8. Disruptions are not an excuse--schedule changes happen, but don't let them derail you; have a plan b for your plan a.
For more info, click here.
Photo courtesy Flicker
Road trip anyone?