‘Something is better than nothing’ is a perfect saying to use regarding exercise and other healthy behaviours. Individuals whose typical mindset is of the ‘all or nothing’ style have difficulty believing that it is okay to do half a workout, or to eat a healthy meal in the evening when they’ve already had a sugary snack earlier in the day. “It’s Friday already and I’ve not exercised all week, so I might as well write off this week and start again on Monday”. This type of thinking subconsciously leads to disengagement in healthy behaviours, whereas the idea that doing something good, however small, benefits your health and is worth doing leads to feelings of accomplishment and empowerment and positive self-talk.
It may help to know that research suggests just three minutes of light movement every hour of sitting, for a working day, improves blood glucose and insulin levels in overweight subjects. Also, in a 2018 study, subjects who did ten minutes on a stationary bike produced sharper cognitive responses to specific tasks compared to subjects who sat magazine reading for the same time.
So, keep in mind that small amounts of activity add up and small changes in diet add up, and deviations from your optimal healthy choices are not failures, just lapses. It is worth it to stand rather than sit, move around rather than stand still, drink some water rather than none, eat some fruit and veg rather than none. It all counts, and all has an impact. Several ‘somethings’ over a day has potential to become lots of things over time, and you may not feel as if these things are taking up any extra time.
What will your small somethings be today?