Yesterday I had lunch with some family from out of town. Uncle Rube is in his late 80s, and in swell shape, but he broke his femur a few months back and needs to do exercises every day. He knows he should do the exercises, but he hasn’t felt very motivated (just like the rest of us).
I told him he should commit to doing some of the exercises every day, but just for five minutes. If he didn’t want to do more, he could move on with his day. He told me he has plenty of time. Time isn’t the problem, I told him. Mental resistance to doing a long bout of exercise caused him to abandon the effort altogether. Most of us can commit to five minutes. Just the thought of only having to do a little seemed less onerous to Rube.
I started my exercise routine with a five minute commitment. Every night since I was about 17, I have done stomach crunches for 5 minutes. Stomach crunches were the only habit that stuck after a stint at a fat farm with my 103-lb. grandmother in a less-than-subtle nudge about my weight. Before bed, I do 60 repetitions of 3 different stomach exercises. It takes 5 minutes. Sometimes I do a little stretching and lift some light weights, but I have committed to that one thing. And it’s been…a LOT of years since.
Set a kitchen timer for five minutes and lift a little weight, do a few push ups, jumping jacks, jump rope…whatever moves you. Every day.
Rube told me he’s going to give that a try.