MAKE AND ACCOMPLISH EARLY RESOLUTIONS BEFORE JANUARY 1, 2017
Do you excitedly anticipate BUT also dread the coming of 2017? Does the feeling come from acknowledging there are areas in your life that need to change in order to improve health? “Your 14-Day Plan to Walk More Steps” by Eric Taylor for MyFitnessPlan.com gives a wonderful way to incrementally boost your physical activity in 3 plans at low to intermediate levels that each extend over 2 weeks.
1) Off-the-Couch Beginner: starts with 3000 steps, increases 500 steps/day
2) Beginner/Intermediate: starts with 5000 steps, increases 750 steps/day
3) Intermediate: starts with 7000 steps, increases 1000 steps/day
Taylor has a suggestion for those who graduate from the highest (intermediate) level plan at the end of his article; I won’t give it away here.
PRE-NEW YEAR RESOLUTION: EASIER ‘DO-IT-YOURSELF’ PLAN to live a healthier more active life before January 1, 2017. It might AMAZE you how much ‘stepping’ can occur OUTSIDE OF PLANNED EXERCISE! This reinforces experts cautions that to lead a healthy life, non-sitting physical activity must extend throughout the day and NOT BE CONFINED to a 20-45minute planned walk, run, or cycle.
Another MyFitnessPal.com article, “Is Sitting truly the New Smoking?” written by Aleisha Fetters, earlier this fall, discusses research which indicates that health risks associated with sitting can be decreased and possibly eliminated by increasing activity throughout the day.
The specific Lancet research paper is a re-analysis of a number of other studies and did not generate new scientific data, but it encourages us NOT TO DESPAIR if we cannot quit our desk jobs. We try can move more even if we cannot completely leave behind lifestyles that threaten to jeopardize our health.
Resolve between now and January 1, 2017 to INCREASE the steps you take outside of your planned exercise running or walking (unscientifically speaking, taking more steps may indicate that you are sitting less).
Step counts come from a combination of those taken while walking/running in formal exercise and those taken as a course of normal life activities. Determine the average number you cover on most days of the week for 3 weeks. Each week, like Olympic judges do when evaluating swimming dives or skating routines, disregard the lowest and highest count days. That leaves 5 days to average; add each day’s steps and divide by 5 to get the average count/day in each week. Then add the average steps/day for each of the 3 weeks and divide by 3.
If you have been fairly consistent in using a step counter you can calculate with that existing information. If you have not used such a monitor, get a counter (there are free phone apps) and plan to take the next 3 weeks to record them. Then calculate as the EXAMPLE shows below.
After you have identified the average number of steps taken each day, as Taylor suggests, on December 1 you can start the first 2-week period aiming to increase step count at a low level.
FOR ME, 500 steps/day would be the equivalent of one quarter mile (one standard track lap). In the first 4 days I would be increasing steps by the equivalent of 1 mile/day; after 8 days by 2 miles/day, and after 12 days by 3 miles/day. After a full 2 weeks, my steps would have increased the distance covered by 3.5 miles/day.
The commitment to increase steps 500/day may be too much to add to an already busy day, without including miles you cover during planned exercise. To insure perseverance, you might start with adding 100/day or 250/day. If you achieve this goal count you can progress as you wish or maintain the newly increased level.
November 9-30: Use this time to determine your average step count if you don’t have that info.
December 1-14: Add 100, 250, 500, or 750 steps each day
December 15-29: Maintain the higher level or add 250, 500, 750, or 1000 steps/day if able
December 30-31: Maintain and ENJOY the accomplishment, and the lead-up to New Year’s Eve!
Example of calculating steps/day over 3 weeks
Week 1: Week 2 Week 3
Monday 4000* 5000* 4000*
Tuesday 3000 2000 2000
Wednesday 2000 1000 1000
Thursday 5000* 7000* 6000*
Friday 1000 1000 1000
Saturday+ 10,000X* 11,000X* 12,000X* (high value, not’ counted
Sunday 1000X 1000X 1000X (low value, not counted)
TOTAL 7 day 26,000 28,000 27,000
Total 5 day 15,000 16,000 14,000
Divided by 5 = 3,000 3,200 2,800
*If these are your run/walk exercise days, keep these runs/walks in your schedule, they will be additional steps.
Add weekly average of each week: 3,000 + 3,200 + 2,800 = 9,000
Divided by 3 weeks = 3000 steps/day over 3 weeks
Average steps/day = 3000 steps/day
Example of adding 100 steps/day over 2 weeks; at base 3000;
Week 1: Week 2
Monday 3100+Run 3800+ Run
Tuesday 3200 3900
Wednesday 3300 4000
Thursday 3400 +Run 4100+ Run
Friday 3500 4200
Saturday 3600+Run 4300+Run
Sunday 3700 4400
Total 7 Day 23,800 + 3 runs 28,700+ 3 runs
Example of adding 250 steps/day over 2 weeks; at base 3000;
Week 1: Week 2
Monday 3250+Run 5000+Run
Tuesday 3500 5250
Wednesday 3750 5500
Thursday 4000+Run 5750+Run
Friday 4250 6000
Saturday 4500+Run 6250+Run
Sunday 4750 6500
Total 7 Day 28,000 + 3 runs 40,250 + 3 runs
The Taylor article has the charts constructed for adding 500, 750, and 1000 steps per day. He provides a quote near the end of the piece that I particularly like without an attribution:
”If it is important to you ,you will find a way. If not, you will find an excuse”.
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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