…I started a program of walking every day. I didn’t keep up with it being a daily walk, but I did get consistent enough in walking and strength training that I did not have to use a cane since … last January?*
I’m considering this a victory.
Two things that helped:
1) Focusing on the exercises I thought would give me the most results. I had a low level of strength in my legs and walking was sometimes difficult, so I focused on strength training and small but consistent levels of walking.
2) Using the “Days Since” tracker on my iGoogle home page to track my activity. “Days Since” tracks how many days since I did something; clicking the green “rewind” button resets to zero. It doesn’t keep a calendar of everything I’ve done, though it does maintain a running average of the interval for each item (and turns the text red if the number of “Days Since” is greater than that item’s average). For me this is a good way to make sure I don’t put off something too long, without making me nuts if I get off a day on my routine. A screenshot is below.
Once I got up to a basic level of ability, I did start to benefit from not needing to do as much to maintain my ability as to build new muscles. There were weeks where I’d get maybe 1 walk and 1 round of leg lifts – but I did that minimal amount, and was able to do more the following week.
It also helped that I had a concrete reason to exercise: maintaining mobility and avoiding pain. If I slacked on leg lifts for more than a week my knees would start to hurt. I felt better when doing these exercises multiple times a week, which encouraged me to keep doing them.
This isn’t meant as a comment on anyone else. I have some arthritis and a low fitness level, so I’m taking steps to improve for my own selfish reasons. Not everyone else has the same ability levels (or would make the same decisions and time investment even if they did). But having posted here about this 2010 commitment, it made sense to report back on how it went.
*Edited to add: Did see a reference to using a cane in early January last year, so to be safe it’s been most of a year.