Ben will tell you that exercising can be a habit – something you do without thinking or something you need to do or you get antsy. So, sure! For some, it’s a habit. They do it without thinking – like a twitch. Or they can’t not do it – like drinking coffee to get their heart started.
For me, I don’t think exercise is a habit. I know it’s not because I can stop exercising for the most inconsequential reason – I can’t find a matching workout sock or I’m out of blue raspberry BCAAs. Habits should be harder to break.
However, once I get on a roll with exercising I can go a while without a long stretch off. Kind of looks like a habit to those on the outside. So right now I am working out 5 to 7 times a week. But now I have the time, a bunch of matching socks and a new container of blue raspberry BCAAs.
I have exercised on and off ever since I was in university. I’ve done karate, Tai Chi, lifted weights, ran fast, ran long and lifted weights. I know I just said lifted weights twice, but that’s what I am into right now. That and body weight calisthenics. But there have been times – long stretches of time – when I didn’t work out.
So why am I exercising like it’s a habit? No reason I guess. I have the time to exercise consistently and time to think about why.
There is a saying that goes: ‘You should live long enough to be a burden to your children’. And while that is a lovely sentiment, it raises the question of what you will be doing as you get older.
I am just shy of 60 and have long realized that my body will eventually betray me. There have been signs. Last summer I stepped down off a sidewalk and twisted my ankle – not badly but jeez! A couple of weeks ago I pulled a muscle in my neck just turning my head! These are the signs – warning that we have to take care of ourselves.
So for me I exercise because I want to live a healthy, happy, fulfilling, independent life for as long as possible. I want to cut my own grass and get my own groceries. I want to go on fun-filled family vacations with an accompanying oxygen tank. (Oh, if I have the tank I’m still going.)
For me exercise isn’t a habit. But I think I want to make independent living a habit.
Written by: Pat Costigan aka Ben’s Dad