Updated: Apr 29, 2020
“Babe, I got you babe. I got you babe. I got you babe.” If you’ve ever seen the movie Groundhog Day, you know that Bill Murray’s character, Phil Connors, groans as he wakes up to hear this Sonny and Cher hit on his hotel alarm clock at exactly 6am morning after morning, signaling that he’s about to relive the same day as yesterday. Fun fact, it's been estimated that poor Phil woke up to this song and this day 12,403 times, which is way more than I ever imagined!
Although it may feel like our country has been in lockdown and living our own groundhog day about a day more than Phil had to endure, the reality is, most of us have been social distancing around 30 days.
In this disruption from our regularly scheduled programming, we’ve dramatically changed our way of life. Some of us may have even coddled ourselves a bit and given into carte-blanche Netflix and Dorito binges. This is a totally natural response. The habits that we’ve spent years accumulating, for better or worse, have suddenly ground to a halt. And without our habits, we’ve been left wondering, what the heck do we do now?
Well my friends, it’s time to dust off your gym shoes and … well… I guess stay in your daily uniform of sweats and a t-shirt because we’re about to get physical.
Just because you can’t go to the gym or dominate your weekend basketball league doesn’t mean that exercise is out of your control. There are plenty of ways that you can still get your heart pumping, blood flowing, and expand your lungs. A sweet bonus to the physical benefits of exercise is the emotional benefit that comes with the feeling of accomplishment that can be elusive to say the least right now. Remember, the mind and body are connected. Period.
According to Medline Plus, among many other benefits, exercise can help you lose weight, keep blood sugars under control, and improve heart health. Being overweight, having diabetes, and cardiovascular disease are three of the top risk factors for severe COVID disease. Just like hand washing, covering your face and disinfecting surfaces are a vital part of your health right now, so is exercise.
Whether you’ve been a gym rat your whole life or a self-proclaimed couch potato, being confined to our homes is definitely taking a toll on the amount of physical activity we get each day. Most of us aren’t walking through stores, running through parking lots, or choosing the stairs over the elevator right now, let alone hitting the gym. To be a growth-owner vs fixed-victim, though, means knowing that getting the exercise we need is on us, and us only.
Take ownership of your exercise routine and health by finding activities that you enjoy and start one step at a time. You don’t have to burn yourself out on the first day. It’s much easier to create a success habit that sticks if you don’t dread doing it. A better plan is to start small and increase your activity level each week. I’ve changed my regular gym routine for crazy kid pushups that involve both Wyatt and Emmett hanging on me. But you know what, it’s become a fun routine that has helped reduce the friction of working out just like my basketball and lifting while listening to podcasts did before the pandemic.
It took Phil most of his 12,403 groundhog days to learn that he wasn’t a victim of the universe. But by the time he returned to his regular life, he was a growth-owner living his best life. Use your groundhog days wisely and by the time your life returns to normal, you’ll be armed with success habits that last.
This week’s action tip:
Think of the physical activities you enjoy doing and make a plan to incorporate them into your new daily routine. For example, if dancing makes you feel like a million bucks, turn up the music and dance your heart out for 20 minutes. It’s even more fun when you’re in complete control of the music! Some other ways to dance are through video games like “Just Dance” or through workouts like Beachbody on Demand’s "Country Heat."
But don’t feel like it has to be a formal program for you to achieve the benefits; anything that elevates your heart rate and makes you happy should do the trick! If this is new for you, start one-two times per week and increase to three-five times per week as you go. Other ideas are to replace the treadmill with pounding the pavement in your neighborhood or at a local park or trail, or play basketball in your driveway with the kids instead of your usual intramural sports. You can also join my Facebook group for daily exercise tips!