Commentary – Habits are hard to break and make

Pearl Lorentzen

I have always walked a lot, so I have very strong legs. However, the rest of my body isn’t very strong. I have tried at various times to add full body workouts into my routine, but with limited success.

My most recent attempt is a mental health awareness fundraiser. From Feb. 1-23, I am doing The Push-Up Challenge, a fundraiser for the Canadian Mental Health Association. In those 23 days, I’m doing 2,000 push-ups or other accepted exercises, such as sit-ups.

When I started, I could only do five push-ups or sit-ups in a row, and to meet the 49 goal, I did many wall push-ups. On the fifth day, with a break for Sunday, I was able to do 15 in a row, followed by 15 sit-ups, and two sets of 10 push-ups and sit-ups. The goal for that day was 50 exercises. The next goal was 60 and I divided that into three sets of 16 and one of 15. By the 23rd, day I might even be able to do 50 in a row, but would be pleased with two sets of 25.

Before I started, it seemed impossible, but so far it has been doable.

As I convince myself each day to exercise, I am reminded of the importance of challenges and accountability in our lives.

I’ve never been very good at push-ups or sit-ups. However, by doing them, I’m improving.

I haven’t tracked how long it’s taken to the 40 to 60 push-ups, but I think it is around 15 minutes. At the time, it is torture, but each day is a little easier.

Sunday was a day off from push-ups, and I went for a long walk. I enjoyed it a lot.

However, if I hadn’t been thinking about exercising, I might have skipped it.

I was taking a mental health course, and the instructor talked about moving our bodies with joy. I hadn’t heard that before, but it makes a lot of sense. I do not enjoy push-ups or sit-ups, but I am feeling the benefits of doing them.

However, it is easier to move my body in ways that bring me joy – walking, skating, and swimming. I walk a lot, but keep not making the other two a priority.

I don’t exercise, paint, play the piano, or do non-work writing very often, because it takes effort to get started. However, when I push through that initial hurtle I enjoy it.

To incorporate them into my routine requires building new habits.

Humans, like all living creatures, need to move and rest. As a journalist, often I walk to interviews in town, but otherwise my job involves a lot of sitting. When I was working in food services and cleaning, break times were an important time to stop moving. Now that I work in an office, I need to do the opposite.

Since exercise can be difficult and habits are very hard to form, accountability is very useful. Having a team of people who are reaching toward the same goals helps motivate me. Logging my push-ups in the app makes it more likely I will do them.

The last time I did regular exercise, it was because of physiotherapy for my knee. I enjoy movement and want it to be a part of my life, but when it is icy or other factors stop me from walking to and from work, sometimes I don’t get any exercise.

I’m not sure what Feb. 24 will look like once the challenge is done, but I hope that I will keep including physical activity in my day.

I will likely switch to swimming or skating, but might try to keep up with the push-ups and sit-ups at least once a week.

Share this post

Post Comment