Motivational Monday-Making the Invisible, Visible
Are you looking for ways to keep yourself motivated to move more to improve circulation and reduce inflammation?
If you are motivated by numbers, fitness trackers are a great motivation tool for beating inflammation.
To be healthy we need proper circulation of blood to every part of the body. Inactivity or a sedentary lifestyle has been dubbed “the new smoking” because of the serious health risks, including, but not limited to, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, depression, cancer; all inflammatory lifestyle diseases due to poor circulation, and often, a lack of movement.
Research is repeatedly telling us the amazing benefits of getting out of the lazyboy chair and moving more. Just one hour a day of moderate activity can prevent and even contribute to reversing many of the above disease processes. In addition to the one hour a day of cardiovascular movement, moving frequently throughout the day further improves circulation. The recommendation is 3-5 minutes or 250-300 steps an hour.
If you are like most people, you think yourself healthier than you really are, and you think you are much more active than you really are. This is just human nature. It is usually very amazing to see just how little we move when the invisible is made visible with a fitness tracker, removing the guess work.
Benefits of Fitness Trackers
Fitness trackers come in a variety of styles and tracking abilities. The one that is right for you will largely depend on what you want to track. Many fitness trackers will track steps, distance travelled, intensity of activity, calories burned, weight, heart rate, sleep, blood pressure, etc. and offer ways to record food and water intake.
Will a Fitness Tracker Benefit YOU? Consider the following:
Fitness Trackers can help keep you Accountable: A fitness tracker can become your exercise buddy! It can track your goals and progress. As one sees the number of steps getting closer to your goals, one is encouraged to walk more steps. Fitness tracker used daily have been shown to increase the user’s activity level by more than 30%!
Need Motivation? It has been said to maintain healthy circulation, 10,000 steps a day is required. But if you are trying to improve your health and/or reverse a health challenge, you will need closer to 12,500 to 15,000. While at first glance this many seem overwhelming, once you have a fitness tracker you visibly can see your steps increasing day by day closer toward the goal.
Rally Support! Many fitness trackers will let you connect with friends. One of your friends can challenge you to a goal or race you to a certain fitness “badge”, this just might help you be more motivated to be on the move instead of sitting down. You can connect with friends and challenge each other to various aspects such as 10,000 steps every day for a week. You can post your activities and the various “awards” and “badges” that you acquire through your increased achievements. This will allow you to have cheerleaders as you work toward your personal goals. One line of caution: Group dynamics can change and there is a fine line between motivating encouragement and support and being driven by competition.
One of my clients who suffered from depression, decided she would challenge me to one hour of exercise every day, “to prove that exercise will not help”. She challenged me in front of the whole class, and of course, I accepted the challenge! Two weeks later, as soon as she walked through the doors the class immediately wanted to know how she did with the exercise challenge. She exclaimed, “It works! I feel good! It felt so good, I exercised more than an hour every day and my husband is so happy because I helped him with yardwork and gardening!” Exercise is nature’s Prozac!
Gym vs. Exercising Close to Home. We do not need to go to a gym to get healthy. Gyms can be overwhelming when starting an exercise program. Going to a gym takes more time (unless you are right across the street from the gym) than donning a pair of sneakers and walking out the door or doing whatever exercise you like to do close to home. Instead of spending your money on gym fees, buy a new pair of sneakers (if needed) and a fitness tracker.
Get your co-workers involved! Many employers encourage their workers to move more. With the fitness tracker incentive, employees can suddenly be motivated to walk a few extra steps every chance they have if they know they can get a discount on their insurance cost.
My mother’s company offers a $50.00 discount on their employee health insurance premium if they bring in their fitness tracker to show they have walked at least 3 miles every day for the last month.
Focus on a continuity of activity: Long periods of sitting can be dangerous to our health contributing to inflammation flare-ups, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Each waking hour try to take at least 250-350 steps. It will only take a few minutes, but your brain will be clearer, work more efficiently, and your body will thank you for the better circulation of blood.
What about accuracy? One of my clients heard that fitness trackers were not accurate, and she told me her fitness tracker did not work. She said, “It says I am only walking a mile the whole day (~2000 steps).” We went for a ½ mile walk and compared numbers on our fitness trackers. Sure, enough it recorded similarly to mine. With this information, the next week she came to the center glowing. She had increased her activity to over 10,000 steps a day, was sleeping better, had more energy, and overall was feeling so much better.
The jury may still be out on how accurate fitness trackers are, but the facts remain; fitness trackers can help inspire individuals like you to reach for something better, to increase your fitness level, lose weight, and strive for abundant health!
Balance vs. Obsession: Some people are prone to take anything to excess and begin to obsess over the data. It is important to be consistent and to evaluate. Fitness Trackers are our helper but not our master. Let us maintain our relationships, get adequate rest, and have some daily social time, and be balanced people!
Fitness trackers do not guarantee fitness. One can use them to increase activity but there is no magic in it except that it makes the invisible, visible. You can manage only what you measure. A fitness tracker is a great tool, but a tool is only a tool without a human managing the tool. The work and habit patterns are still up to you.
I have personally enjoyed my fitness tracker over the years and find it VERY MOTIVATING to move more. If you want to experiment with this before making an investment, try tracking your steps with your phone if you keep your phone on you. There is usually a health app that provides some basic tracking information.
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