Why It Matters Where You Work Out!
Living in Canada, the winters can get cold
The snowbird industry (the term for northerners to go to warm weather in coldest months) is a prosperous one.
I am blessed to be able to get to warm weather locations for at least part of the winter.
The one thing I notice in warm weather climates, and with snowbirds, is their activity level. It’s off the charts!
The weather is ideal, and people are walking, cycling, rollerblading, golfing, swimming, playing tennis…if you can do it outdoors, it is being done.
This activity is not limited to the young.
In fact, I see more over 40 and 50 years old participating than any other age group.
Why is that?
Here is My Theory, ready? It is easier!
The weather removes the biggest obstacle: access to the activity.
The weather makes you want to be outside.
Now, flip that to the north, with the snow and ice.
Only the most dedicated diehards will get out for hours at a time. As a young one, I fondly remember getting outside to play ice hockey for hours at a time. The rinks were at the park down the street from middle of December to middle of March. That was 3 months of daily, accessible activity.
Yes, it was cold. But it was fun. Loved it. All my friends were there. We would plan during the school day who was coming and what the teams would be.
However, without easy access, probably would not have happened.
Fast forward, 45 years. I have made very conscious decisions to make my living in and around the fitness and exercise industry.
With that decision, I get exposed to lots of places to get my activity in.
I have some workout equipment at home.
Where my son trains for baseball, they have a nice workout space.
My son does his fitness at another great workout space.
I have a membership to a gym a few minutes away.
Another gym, a budget gym has opened recently even closer. For the cost of 3 coffees, I can get another membership within walking distance,
I have a fitness room at the officer where I work.
We have another workout space at our head office in Montreal, where I have meetings monthly with a full gym.
When I travel for work or for holiday or for the kids baseball, I choose hotels that have a well rated fitness room (preferably with one we have supplied!).
I travel with bands when flying to get some resistance and metabolic work in when locked into meetings to start/end my day.
On driving trips, I will pack a kettlebell to go along with the bands.
When my son is at baseball practice, I will wonder off and get my workout in.
When I thought about it one day, I realized that easy access to working out is a big part of how and why I can get my daily movement in.
That is not a coincidence. Making a habit easy is a precursor to success.
In reading James Clear’s book (Atomic Habits. Highly recommended by the way if you want to understand why we do what we do), he dedicates a chapter to putting forth the theory that human behavior follows the “Law of Least Effort”. This law states that we need to create an environment where doing the right thing is as easy as possible. Reducing the friction or difficulty in executing desired behaviors leads to making habits easy.
Now look at the opposite.
Increasing friction, then, is logical to make the desired behavior difficult to execute.
I would like to pretend that I purposely created all these outlets to get my activity in, however, it has been built up over time. It was an evolution to getting my activity to fit my preference and lifestyle.
It makes it easy to get my workouts in.
It allows me to vary my training routine. It puts me in a different environment almost every time.
Sometimes, on my own. Sometimes with other fitness enthusiasts at the gym. Sometimes alongside young, aspiring athletes and other elite professional ones. Sometimes alongside hotel travelers. Sometimes next to bewildered road warriors at a highway rest stop!
The eclectic nature of my routine keeps it fresh and, consequently, helps me with my frequency and improvement.
Do you need to have all these workout options?
Not at all.
But making it accessible and easy seems to be a path to consistent execution.
I know many where the regularity of the routine to go to the gym is critical.
● Same time of day.
● Same gym.
● Same exercises or programs.
Others, follow a similar path for their daily morning ritual.
I know when I travel, I try to do something right before (either right before or night before if an early departure) and right after reaching destination.
Routine. But, in a different environment each time.
The oldies walking on the beach boardwalk in South Florida have it figured out.
Make it easy to execute.
So do the ones that embrace the winter months and get to some shoveling, or skiing or using the skating park nearby. Take advantage of what’s there.
● Make it accessible.
● Reduce friction to your desired behaviour.
● Remove barriers.
That increases the chance to our daily activity.
Trust me, it’s worth it when you can do things in your 50’s and 60’s that most people cannot.
It comes down to frequency of your practice or practicing regularly.
Make it easy on yourself.
The world is hard enough as it is!
I created Athleticover40.com to provide a resource on the execution of daily activity. Look forward to connecting!