What is your Toothbrush Level of Exercise?

May 31, 2023
Some people may avoid exercise because they believe they need to do a certain amount of time for it to be worthwhile, but when trying to build a new habit it might actually be the opposite.

Do you enjoy brushing your teeth?

Like really enjoy it? Do you relish the time that you take to do it, or are you brushing because you value the outcome (clean teeth, non-scary breath) enough to happily put in the 4-6 minutes a day it takes?

We're guessing it's the latter.

We've met many clients who reportedly can't stand exercise....and we can't help but wonder if they're simply trying to brush their teeth for hours.

What we mean to say is that if you've got it in your head that unless you do "X" minutes per day of exercise it's not worth doing, that'd be akin to thinking that unless you brush your teeth 30 minutes at a shot it's not worth brushing.

Our eight word exercise manifesto is straightforward, and given all of the data piling up on the risks of sitting and the benefits of small bouts of exercise, we're willing to go out on a limb and suggest it's probably even supported by evidence.

The eight words?

Some is Good. More is Better. Everything Counts.

So rather than focus on big blocks of time, if you're an exercise avoider, why not take a few minutes and figure out your "Toothbrush Level".

What's that?

Well you know exercise has tremendous health benefits. So what amount of exercise do you think you'd be able to regardless of likeability, add to your day?

5 mins? 10 mins?

And then, as with tooth brushing, figure out when you're going to do it. Maybe it'll simply be parking 5 minutes away from work so that you get 5 minutes of walking on either end of your work day. Maybe it'll be a brief 10 minute weights or calisthenics program when you wake up.  Whatever you decide, do figure out when you're going to do it, because simply aiming at a nebulous "more" isn't likely to help.

Next, set up a reminder system. That might be tying it to something you're already doing-like doing one push-up every time you go to the bathroom or using technology to remind you. Regardless of the action you want to make, setting up a  prompt is a key part of the process since you'll be trying to remember to do something you're not accustomed to doing. How many times do you think your parents reminded you to brush your teeth before you simply started doing it automatically?

We know more is better, but truly, everything counts, and who knows, as your fitness improves and you grow accustomed to intentional daily exercise, perhaps your toothbrush level will grow too.

Now go brush your teeth!

Dr. Yoni Freedhoff
Medical Director
Since 2004, Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, an Associate Professor of Family Medicine at the University of Ottawa, has dedicated his practice to obesity medicine. ‍ Canada's most outspoken obesity expert, Dr. Freedhoff is regularly sought out by the international media for commentary on nutrition and weight matters, and his book, The Diet Fix: Why Diets Fail and How to Make Them Work. Dr. Freedhoff's diet agnostic philosophy and lessons learned from working with over 10,000 patients is the foundation of what Constant Health has been built upon.
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