Episode 332 – What Good Is It If It’s Only Around The Block?

Written by Jonathan

I was training a client the other day and she was talking about how dissatisfied she was with how she felt, she wasn’t happy with how things were going, as in how she’s not able to do some of the things she could do even as recently as last year and she still can’t find the motivation to do some exercise on her own. Before I could say anything, she then followed it up with, ‘I think I might like to walk, but I can’t go far enough for it to make a difference.’

I asked her, How far is she walking now?
She emphatically says, common aren’t you listening, I’m not walking at all.
I’m listening, Is 5 minutes of walking better then 0 minutes of walking?
She responds I suppose so. Then I guess it is doing something, and I can see the light bulb go off in her head. I didn’t want that light bulb to go out, so I jumped in, “Did you know that the only clients I’ve ever worked with that have had long term success, started by doing 5 minutes of walking a day or some equivalent small step towards exercise, taking the stairs at work, packing their lunch the night before, doing as many push-ups as they can as soon as they wake-up in the morning.

These are all 5 minute walk equivalents, they are the smallest step a person felt comfortable to take, or the smallest step that they felt fairly certain the would be able to succeed in taking.

I know it feels inadequate, I mean what is the point of only doing 5 minutes, what’s the point of only doing 3 push-ups or what’s the point of taking the stairs if it’s only 4 flights, what difference does it make?

Well I can tell you, it makes no difference, you won’t lose weight, you will hardly build up your endurance, it’s hardly enough time to enjoy the scenery, so what is the point?

Let’s look at it like this, when you’re with a young child and they’re first learning how to read, they have to first recognize the letters and the differences between all the letters, then they have to learn the sounds that each letter makes individually, then they have to learn how the sounds run together to form words, then they have to learn how those words work together to form sentences, then sentences to paragraphs and on and on until they can read full novels and understand stories, but you would never go – ‘Hey kid, you can’t read a novel yet, so don’t worry about what the shapes of the letters mean’ – You take the time to teach the child the shapes and sounds of the letters until they can read, and your body is no different, you’re taking the time to teach your body how to walk a little bit at a time and maybe you can’t walk 5k, but that’s alright because as you teach your body to walk everyday starting with 5 minutes, then once your body learns 5 minutes you can teach it 8 minutes, then 12 and you’ll be able to go further and further each time until you can walk as far as you want to, you just have to progress at a pace that is comfortable for you.

Yes at first it will feel inadequate and physically it will make a minimal difference, but mentally it makes a huge difference, because as you build consistency and make exercise a habit you’re teaching your body to move again and proving to yourself that you can do it. On top of this the more consistent you are the more your body adapts the further you can go and you’ll be doing your 5k in no time.



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