Friday, March 29, 2013

2 Alarm Walking (and/or Running)

Of late, I have found myself struggling to establish an exercise routine. Work and being wiped out at the end of the day are making it hard to get motivated. What I needed, I decided, was a fresh experiment. That's how I came up with 2 Alarm Walking.

The enemy, I've decided, is over-thinking exercise. The usual internal dialog goes like this: "I know, I'll exercise later when I've got my work done." Then later I say, "oh, now it's too late to exercise, I'll do it tomorrow nice and early." Wash, rinse and repeat. The solution: take thinking out of the equation.

Here's who I've done that: I've set two alarms on my phone, one at 1:57pm and one at 2:15pm. When the first goes off, I've got exactly 3 minutes to pause what I'm doing, and step away from my desk. I then start walking down the main road more or less in front of my house. Approximately 15 minutes later, the second alarm goes off. At this point, I blindly turn around and walk home. Always the same route, always the same time. No thinking involved.

After trying this for a week or two now, I've been relatively pleased with the results. I haven't been able to get in a walk every day, but I'm definitely getting a jolt of fresh air and exercise a lot more often than before. I find that for the first half of my walk I'm usually pretty zoned out. That's not really a bad thing, as I'm trying to make this an automatic behavior. By the end of the walk though, the creative juices have started to flow again and I'm getting back to my desk refreshed for another burst of work.

While I've been walking, I think this strategy would work just as well for running. Sure, a 30 minute running isn't as ideal as say an hour, but just being able to do something has to count, right?

I'm tempted to push the concept a little further and add a randomized component to it. For example, have the alarm goes off at a random time of the day to insure that my brain is totally surprised about when this burst of activity is going to come. Luckily, I have really poor time awareness, so 1:57pm pretty much shows up randomly to me every day.

What do you do to help you exercise when time doesn't allow?


  1. Could not agree more. When I think about exercise, I give myself time to talk me out of it. I just start it, and by the time my brain protests, it is too late :-)