If you read my blog on a weekly basis, you know that I have a new fitness tracker. I have a love-hate relationship with exercise; I hate it when it’s in front of me, but I love it when it’s over. I realize I’m not alone in this ambivalence, actually, I think it’s pretty common. It’s also why I try to get my workout in early in the morning, so I can check it off my mental list of things to do and have the rest of the day to look forward to. For those of you who struggle with your fitness journey due to pain, I hear you. But really, it does help, even if it’s hard at the beginning. For everyone – and more so for people with Fibro – it is crucial to oxygenate our mitochondria. This plays a central role in the healthy functioning of all of the body’s systems, including the nervous system.
So, after adjusting my smartwatch’s step tracker to 10k per day, I still wasn’t hitting my target. I was making it to 7 or 8k on most days, which included a long walk or jog of five or so kilometers. Then, it happened. My sister was visiting. She had major surgery recently and is in a process of rehabilitation from cancer. She’s a highly motivated exerciser, and it’s hard for her to have to take it slow. We went out for a long walk and I realized I had walked past the point on the path where I usually turn around. I heard myself think, “if I go a bit more, I’ll get to the park. That would make this walk 7k (4.3 miles). I’ll bet that would bring me to 10k steps!”
The next time I went out, I went all the way to the park. I kept checking my watch, waiting for the magic buzz to tell me I’ve reached my fitness goal. I got home and checked… 9450 steps. I WAS SO ANNOYED! I was so annoyed that I walked 10 laps around the inside of the house, up and down the stairs twice, and jogged in place until I hit the target. Woohoo! I was thrilled to see that huge number – 10,000 – on the screen!
That was yesterday. And guess what? Today I went right back out and walked that same route. I am currently at 9860 steps, and you better believe I’m going to hit that 10k before the day ends. That’s how it works. The act of tracking pulls on our naturally competitive nature, so we are motivated to be just a little bit better than we might otherwise. When we track metrics such as exercise, we increase our awareness of our achievements. We measure our abilities against the possibilities, and then we strive for more.
It really doesn’t matter where you are starting. Even if you can only walk for ten minutes, write it down. Tomorrow, try for 12. I promise you, it will be worth it.