The Opportunity Cost of 10,000 steps

Or why I never used to exercise.

This daily goal has always seemed so daunting. On an average work day, I would barely get a few thousand steps. At the end of the day, I would want to spend whatever energy I had left writing, recording and performing music. That usually doesn’t help my step count much, no matter how much I stomp my foot to the rhythm. Yet, just yesterday, I did over 11,000 steps and it seemed like nothing.

It dawned on me that my lack of energy was probably a result of perceived opportunity cost. I always felt like the gym was too much of a time sink. I had a membership but never went. When you factor in driving there, finding parking, changing, working out, showering, driving back, it really adds up. There’s so many other things I could be doing that would feel more productive AND more enjoyable…

Although I don’t think I’ll ever truly enjoy the gym, here are things I do to make it feel like a more productive option:

  • When I’m feeling lazy, I take a book with me and ride the bike for a while. I’ve missed reading and time on a machine goes by so much faster with a book. Audio books are even better.
  • If something is on my mind, eg. I’m stuck on a problem, I’ll download a tutorial or podcast episode related to the topic on my phone and listen to it while I work out.
  • If what I need to do is more visual and doesn’t lend itself well to audio learning, then I’ll load a playlist of reference tracks and make mental notes on the songs while I work out.
  • When all else fails, inspiring podcast interviews or funny YouTube videos might do the trick :-)

That said… I still don’t get to the gym as often as I should, but I am making a little progress. Baby steps!

What do you do to motivate yourself to exercise? I’m all ears for new ideas.

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