You might be scratching your head over my title but hopefully it will make sense at the end.
We all now the importance of exercise for both our body and mental health. You can’t go a week or so without hearing about the latest research that provides evidence for what we all know at a common sense level. Keep on moving (run, bike, swim, jump, play sports, anything) so you don’t slow down as you age (or at least a slower rate of slowing) and this same moving is good for your brain on many levels (more neurogenesis, less depression, better memory, less Alzheimer, etc, etc).
Money savings vs fitness savings
The nice thing about making monthly deposit into your long term saving plan is you see it steadily buildup and it doesn’t go away unless you decide to spend it (or some other economic catastrophe). However, the deposit you make into your bodies exercise bank is quite different. Yes, over time regular exercise will build up your fitness bank - you get fitter and fitter. The problem is when you stop doing those daily/weekly deposit your fitness bottom line stops dropping. While if you happen not to make a deposit into your long term saving account your bank balance does not start decreasing (unless those pesty bank keep on charging you fees, but even this would be balanced out by your interest payments). With your money - the old rule is with normal interests rates you should double your money every 7-14 years. Not true with fitness unless you keep up your routine you start sliding backwards.
For an excellent post on the importance of consistence exercise and the physiology behind lost fitness if you take a break check out Alan Couzens piece here.
So for money if you stop making deposits your account doesn’t start going backwards, but your fitness/health account starts reversing after a week or so of no exercise. Hence, the importance of consistency in your fitness routine.
A money saving method to help the consistency of your fitness account.
Some new research looking at money saving, by people who have trouble with this part of their life, found that those that plan their saving more than a month in the future did worse than those that plan only a month at a time (via esciencenews.com).
While keeping the savings goal in mind, planning to save in a shorter time frame, like one month, leads to the most success, said Tam. “This type of time frame helps people see steady progress along the way while not feeling too much pressure. This is similar to some of the dieting regimens – not too close so you don’t see progress but not too far away either so you don’t get discouraged.”
I found the importance of time-frame very interesting. Tam, one of the authors of the presentation/paper points out above the similar finding in dieting. So I wonder if the same principle would also hold for fitness routines?
As I have blogged about previously there seems to evidence suggesting getting in 45 minutes of exercise per day 6 days a week which equates to 4.5 hours per week. Now the question is should we think about daily (45 minutes), weekly (4.5 hours), monthly (18 hours), or yearly (216 hours)? Is money different because normally we are getting paid every 2 weeks and we make these saving choices - at least deposit into your bank account once or twice a month. So you could argue that money saving is quite different than the daily choice to exercise or not. But in reality to make those saving goals you have to make appropriate money spending choices each day (go out for dinner, buy the latest gadget, etc).
Something to try:
So if you are struggling to meet your fitness saving - constant banking - then you might try out this approach. Pick a monthly goal of how much exercise you would like to do - then keep track and chart your health saving each month.
To higher money and fitness savings (though for fitness you have to keep it up).