20220712- Going to the gym for the benefit of your partner for just short periods.
We made it to the gym today for just 15 minutes, and I want to stress the success of that short period in building a regular routine for someone who may not feel that any exercise comes naturally to them.
We had agreed to aim for 20 minute sessions, but with our schedule forcing attendance just before the peak 6 o’clock period and the high summer temperatures we ducked out after just 15.
Does it matter? At this early stage I would argue it is more important to be happy and make an early exit than to slog yourself through something that might only be fun for one of you. Take it as a success and leave while you’re both still happy.
This may only be possible if you attend a gym close to home. Our gym is only 10 minutes by foot, and that accessibility negates the need to push for long sessions that may work to discourage you. You may feel obliged to attend for long periods if you’re making a special lengthy commute to your gym, and I would advise against that.
If you only make it to the gym for 15*4 that’s only 1 hour a week and short of the NHS’s recommended 150 minutes for moderate exercise.
The NHS recommends 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week for 19-64 years olds. At this early stage of couples gym attendance, we can’t expect to make up the time by doing more intense work as that differentiation of effort levels doesn’t exist yet. We are still building up conditioning for slow and steady effort and 15 or 20 minutes can seem like a lot to someone coming from a sedentary lifestyle.
15 or 20 minutes gym sessions are less intimidating and offer the chance to escape before any strong negative feelings or P.E. flashbacks begin to set in.
It is also so important to attend together, as this will further reduce the intimidation of the gym environment. I would always recommend starting on the available cardio equipment and using this time to learn the layout of the gym. In addition, attend at night means the windows can be used as mirrors and offer the chance to visually scout out the rest of the gym.
I think we can only be content that we made it to the gym and continue to work on consistency in the hope of reaching higher attendance later on.
As we develop, you and your partner can agree to push the sessions out by 5 minutes at a time, or push individual sessions longer when we feel good and the gym is comfortable and uncrowded. These are often weekend sessions, but really you might just feel lucky at any time. Today, the session happened pre-dinner at around 1730hrs.
Equally as important as finding times to extend is cutting short when appropriate. For us, that was today too.
Stick to your agreed goals and take the opportunities you can. Be flexible based on how both of you are feeling and don’t take a harsh or strict approach when it should be a fun together activity, not punishment.