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What 20 minutes of exercise a day means to me

20 minutes of exercise a day

You have heard it, time and time again that twenty minutes of exercise a day helps with cardiovascular function, combating obesity, less risk for chronic conditions. You name it. But… what does twenty minutes a day really mean to a person who may or may not already be exercising for that amount on a normal basis? I’ll tell you what it means to me.


My typical day since I”m a mother consists of running. I feel like I do exercise for twenty minutes collectively a day but do I do it with quality? I would be fooling myself if I said I did. Every night before I go to bed, way too late may I add, since it’s my only time to myself, I set the alarm early in hopes that maybe I can exercise before the kids wake up and my day turns into organized chaos.

However, twenty minutes of nice comfy sleep in my warm bed is hard to give up. Why are habits so hard to give up even though you know they may not be advantageous to your health?

A habit is defined as “a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one hard to give up”.

Charles Duhigg, the author of The Power of Habit , believes that success in life is correlated to how well you transform and shape different habits in your daily life. Intelligence and understanding that will power needs to come into play and wake me up when I hear the alarm clock brings success in your life. How do you change it? I have tried many techniques. I have moved my alarm to the other side of the room. I have programmed an uplifting song for my brain to wake up to in hopes I start dancing to the alarm clock ready to go. These techniques have come to fail me, sadly.

So where do you turn when you just can’t seem to get it together?

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You must search for other techniques till you find the one that works.

I am an extroverted introvert. I tend to keep at home base but need human contact and conversation. I also don’t like letting people down so by asking someone to walk with me, I make it more about a friend than myself. It almost turns into an obligation but I willingly partake in this endeavor and am aware that the true hurdle is twenty minutes. Twenty minutes isn’t so bad, it’s not long, it seems ridiculous that I have raised two children and twenty minutes is difficult and quite possible will break me. Sigh.

I will leave you with a suggested list for transformation in hopes that you will have better luck in changing one of your habits. We all have them but being aware and finding tools to change them is the key to success.

According to WebMD, there are three steps in changing habits:

  1. Awareness - knowing that you have a habit that needs changing will help you make changes for success.
  2. Journal or put it in writing - by journaling or writing your goals out on paper makes you responsible for following through
  3. Replacement - if it’s a habit like drinking soda right before bedtime, replace this soda with a cup of herbal tea or replacing it with a much better substitution

Even though I tend to let myself down more frequently than not and decide to snooze that button and sleep those extra twenty minutes of peace and quiet, one day there will be a day where I will refrain from hitting snooze and choose a different path. Life is full of chapters and reasons for why you do what you do. Maybe it’s my time to press snooze but later, it will be my time to hit that pavement and enjoy the silence before the chaos of the day takes over.

Good luck changing habits and remember, small steps turn into miles of life long changes with just a little faith and a little self awareness.