That's right. 365 days in a row. An entire YEAR of exercising every day. No breaks.
It started as a New Years resolution I made on a whim. "I'm going to work out every day this year." That's what I told my husband, who's extremely competitive and thrives on routine. So he responded, "Me too." I laughed, because my first thought was -- no way. He'll never make it. I might not even make it... I was wrong.
We didn't stop living our lives to exercise every day. I was in grad school with a demanding schedule and a 60 minute commute, we moved from an apartment to a house, and we traveled at least 1 weekend a month (including a longer trip to Hawaii). We managed to fit it in every single time. Granted, there were days we didn't exercise until 11:30pm, but it still happened. We found ourselves running sprints at rest stops, picking hotels based on their gym equipment, and getting up 30 minutes earlier if we needed to.
We didn't just run sprints for 365 days in a row. We had to mix it up with lighter, and less intense exercises for our safety (and our sanity). One weekend in downtown Chicago, all we did was walk. Ok, it was 10 miles per day so we were actually very tired by the end. We could've cabbed everywhere, but instead we burned calories and saved our money (for better things, like shopping and eating... *no brainer*). There were days when we did 30 minutes of yoga, or found a dance video on Youtube. Even though we took some "light" days, we still reaped benefits. It's important to note that changing up activities allowed us to avoid injury for an entire year. Stress fractures and muscular imbalances are no joke! Those less intense days were needed for our bodies to rest and replenish, but we kept moving no matter what.
When we did this, we were on a grad school budget (ahem, super poor... living on strictly borrowed money). I learned that you definitely don't need to spend hundreds to get fit because we simply didn't have the *cash money* to spend. We lucked out because we had a few months in an apartment with a gym, but that didn't save us entirely. The rest of the year we resorted to running and biking outside, a few handy apps, DVDs, and Youtube videos. The Sworkit app got my gold star. The no-equipment-needed circuit training was easy to take on the road, or do in my living room. Did I mention that running, walking, and stretching are free?
Ok, so this wasn't a double blind, case controlled. lab experiment... but we DID NOT get sick. (The real labs rats are looking into it) - I swear to you it was our saving grace. We're pretty stellar at avoiding illness in our house. We eat well, we take our multivitamins and probiotics, and we don't smoke. (I know, brag brag brag, brag brag brag, you'll get over it.) BUT our lack of colds/flu was even more obvious during those 365 days of exercise. We had a lot of life changes, and neither of us managed to crash (that year, anyway...). We took care of ourselves, and it showed. Healthy insides make healthy outsides, right?
We had to tell people what we were doing. Not to show off, but to provide reasons for the following scenarios:
We told people about our goal because they asked, but in the end it kept us accountable. We probably wouldn't have made it if other people weren't aware. My dad would ask "IS THIS THE DAY THE STREAK ENDS?!" We had a reason to yell "NO" and do something about it! Our friends and family were awesome, and let us fit our fitness in whether it involved them or not. We also had the added support of competing with each other. Romantic right? Constantly trying to prove you're better than the other person? Ok, that might not work for everyone, but there was something about the contest that kept us focused.
I didn't fail, but I did get beat. My husband exercised a month longer than I did. I stopped on January 2nd of the following year, and that competitive punk made it to February ;)
So do I recommend exercising every day? Yes. But take that with a grain of salt, because exercising doesn't always mean barbells, sprints, and crossfit. MOVEMENT is key to life, and living every day is kind of important.