Rewards as motivation. One of the recent Movember initiatives is MOVE. It’s…it’s exactly like it sounds.
A 12 hour nursing shift will get 5000+ steps and then some to get us out of the sedentary range for daily activity. Today I logged over 12,500 steps in addition to my 42 minute lower body work out at the gym this morning. It has taken some time to get to this point.
Classification of pedometer-determined physical activity in healthy adults per www.walking.about.com:
- Under 5000 steps/day may be used as a “sedentary lifestyle index”
- 5,000-7,499 steps/day is typical of daily activity excluding sports/exercise and might be considered “low active.” The average American walks 5900 to 6900 steps per day, so the majority are “low active.”
- 7,500-9,999 steps/day likely includes some exercise or walking (and/or a job that requires more walking) and might be considered “somewhat active.”
- 10,000 steps/day indicates the point that should be used to classify individuals as “active”.
- Individuals who take more than 12,500 steps/day are likely to be classified as “highly active”.
If you’ve ever strapped a pedometer to your belt or had your smart phone log your steps, these numbers can seem daunting. The important thing is to find out what your benchmark is for average daily steps. Once you’ve got that data, set some goals for yourself. The important thing to keep in mind is to consistently increase your steps. Once you’ve set a goal, attach a reward to it. Once you’ve reached your goal, go get your well earn reward! It’s great motivation as it holds your interest and provides a source of pride when you hit that goal.
Whenever we find ourselves in a position of poor health or fitness, let’s not go crazy with our expectations. Gradually increasing activity will allow us to safely improve our fitness while avoiding pesky injuries. Start simple. Here are a handful of ideas for increasing daily steps.
- Have a dog? Walk it.
- Have a toddler? Let him/her outside. Follow them.
- Have a friend? Hit the track and walk laps while you talk about life.
- Like nature? Find a trail to hike.
- Live in the city? Get off the subway/bus one stop early, walk.
Don’t forget the goal and subsequent reward! Find something you are passionate about (preferably not junk food); awesome outdoor gear, a pair of fancy yoga pants, a dog leash that glows in the dark, *cough* a pair of solid gold shoes *cough*, anything that will keep the interest in being more active.
Increasing activity will reduce stress, increase endurance, start to tone your body, shed a few pounds, and reduce the risk of disease related to being sedentary and/or obesity. Did I mention SHOES?!
The cool thing about being more active is feeling/looking better, meeting new people, and discovering new activities to take on with your new found fitness.