Science has long proven the benefits exercise has on our physical and mental well-being.
Staying in shape and exercising regularly has been a part of my routine for many years. However recently I decided to actually measure my activity and collect data to see if my exercise habits are actually meeting the 10,000 step guideline ( about 5 miles ).
I decided first to investigate the science behind 10,000 steps to learn more about how it became the “target” number for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
According to Catrine Tudor-Locke, director of the Walking Behavior Laboratory at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, the concept of 10,000 steps originated in Japan three decades ago. It was a business slogan used by a company that developed aman-po-kei, a pedometer, targeted for Japanese walking clubs.
Research does show that 10,000 steps can meet the moderate activity minimum with a few caveats. For certain groups of people such as the elderly or infirmed, this target range may be too high; and for others, like young children, it may not be high enough.
The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise. This is about 30 minutes 5x a day which can be equated to 10,000 steps of moderate activity.
But given so many of us are stressed for time, I dove deeper into investigating new trends in exercise science such as the 7 minute work out. It seems high intensity circuit training that combines aerobic and resistance training does have some value and can provide health benefits.
So if you are looking to increase your exercise activity to improve your overall mood, health, and well-being, here are
5 new habit nuggets
1. Document your progress:
There are lots of free apps that can help you track your calories, steps; walk, run, and bike routes. I use map my walk
“What you measure you can manage.”
2. Schedule your exercise on your calendar:
I work out at lunch time and it is scheduled on my calender with many reminders. I am more apt to blow off my work out if I schedule it a night because I am usually tired and hungry. Know what is time of day works best for you.
“If exercising is important, schedule it accordingly and make it a top priority. This will mean saying ‘no’ to other things.”
3. Train for a race or a walk-a-thon:
When I signed up for my first mini-triathlon I knew I had to increase my activity so I would survive and cross the finish line without killing myself. By committing to this event, I was forced to map out a workout schedule to meet this goal. To prepare for my big event, I participated in smaller 5 k running races which also assisted in meeting my fitness goals.
“Committing to an end goal requires you to establish steps along the way to meet your goal.”
4. Work out with a group or a buddy:
When you have to show up and others are expecting you to be there, it gets more difficult to bail on your exercise. Make a habit of working out with friends. There is nothing like the support of friends and family to keep you going and moving.
“Accountability to others helps keep us more honest and on track.”
5. Set up systems where you have to take extra steps:
Do not make things easy – park your car far away so you have to walk further. Always take the stairs. Have walking meetings whenever possible.
If you are at work, get up and speak with a colleague instead of sending that email.
“Tap into your creative ideas to help you meet your goals.”
Don’t put off tomorrow what you can start today. I hope you will join me in improving and maintaining your health!