Do You Move Enough?

Since I returned to work from maternity leave about two months ago, I have been adjusting to a new workout routine.  My loved workouts with the girls in the stroller aren’t possible when I work at 8 am.  I need to workout in the morning before work and I have about 30-45 minutes to squeeze in a workout before the kiddos wake up.  So I am committed to 5 am workouts and my preferred mode of exercise is running.

Then it got dark. And cold. The cold isn’t as bothersome as the darkness; running should be relaxing, not scary.  I kept thinking some crazy person was going to jump out of a dark ally and get me!  So three weeks ago I decided that running outside in the dark simply wasn’t worth it.

For the past three weeks I’ve been thinking, “What can I do, at home, for a good workout?”  I have been piecing it together with a few workout DVD’s and I have maintained my strength training routine with our home-gym equipment.  I am proud of my weight lifting; I haven’t been this consistent in years.  Since Dena was born 5 months ago, I have been doing two weight workouts each week, which is really good for me.  But without running, I am missing a good cardio workout.

Then I saw a new pedometer that I wanted to check out as a healthy holiday gift for my KVOA news show.  Wow, what a  wake up call!

Striiv is a nifty little device that does more than traditional pedometers. It has a touch screen, a built-in interactive game and the ability make donations that will provide clean water to families in South America, polio vaccines, and help save the rainforest, based on the steps you take each day.

A pedometer is a little device that you stick on your waistband and it counts every step that you take. I recommend them as a way to monitor your physical activity and to help motivate you to move more. The goal is to take 10,000 steps per day to reach a level of physical activity that minimizes the negative health effects of a sedentary lifestyle that lead to heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression, Alzheimer’s, etc.

I consider myself an active person, so I was really started by the numbers I saw on the pedometer.  Here they are:

  • Monday, 1,343 steps
  • Tuesday, 4,556 steps
  • Wednesday, 8,273 steps
  • Thursday, 5,552 steps

I have a sedentary job, talking with people about food, nutrition, exercise, mood, and health.  There’s not a lot of moving around when I have a full day of nutrition and food counseling–but I can’t believe how few steps I had on Monday! Tuesday and Wednesday I had some unusual activity at the UofA, organizing our Instructioal Kitchen and touring the Student Union restautrants to improve gluten-free otpions.  And even on those days, I was still below the goal of 10,000 steps.  I was still lifting weights and trying home DVD workouts and I still didn’t reach the goal.

What gives? Is 10,000 steps unachievable? No, it’s not, but I realize now that it takes more than 20 minutes of exercise to make up for the fact that I sit the rest of the day.  I have to figure out how to incorporate more exercise into the wee hours of the morning.

Using Stiiv has reinforced two facts:

1.  Monitoring exercise is essential.  I was really surprised that I have so few steps in my day.  I thought I’d be much closer to 10,000 steps in my everyday life and that other exercise would push me way over the target.  Now I have hard data showing me that I need to move more during my day and that I simply must exercise more during the week.

2.  Focus on your exercise routine, figure out how to get it done and do it.  I’ve been mulling over what to with my exercise routine for three weeks and that’s long enough.  Wearing the pedometer stimulated an overdue conversation with my husband that made me really think about what I need.  To figure out what you need, answer these questions?

  • What kind of exercise do I want to do?
  • When can I exercise? What days of the week? How much time do I have? What’s my “back-up” plan if that doesn’t work?
  • Why is exercise important to me?

To accomplish my exercise goals, I need to find a workout that I can do at home that serves as an alternative to running on workdays.  This is my mission for this weekend:

I am looking for recommendations for DVD’s or other modes of home-exercise.  What do you like? Any favorite workout programs that you can do at home?

What the pedometer has done for me is reinforce how important it is to have planned exercise every day.  I can’t let the weather and darkness stand in my way, and I can’t keep putting it off!  If I can’t do what I normally do, such as running, then I have to find a suitable alternative. And quickly too…seriously, less than 1,500 steps?? I still can’t believe it!

Material on this blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is general information that may not apply to you as an individual, and is not a substitute for personalized nutrition or health advice or healthcare. Never disregard medical advice or delay seeking medical care because of something you have read or accessed through this website.

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