Learn how to increase your level of daily activity.

June is getting active month according to the Wellness Works Canada calendar. So I’d like to share some insights and ideas for increasing your activity as well as the activity of others on your team and/or in your company.

1/ Assess

There are two numbers that I look at all the time to keep my level of activity top of mind.

i/ Step count per day

The 10,000 steps per day goal may seem a bit arbitrary but there is science to it. The number of steps was derived by a Japanese physician, Y Hatano who developed an early version of the pedometer called Manpo-Kei. His research determined 10,000 steps to be the right number to maintain a healthy body based on energy consumed [calories] and expended [movement] each day.

ii/ Average step count per day this year vs. last year

Looking at what you are doing this year vs. last year is a quick way to gage whether you’re maintaining your level of movement or whether it’s improving or declining.

2/ Share your data

Share your step count data with your favorite friend at work and/or team. It’s a good way to encourage them to look at their step count stats and start a discussion about whether they are moving enough to maintain good health or if there are obstacles hindering their movement.

3/ Brainstorm

If your step counts need a boost, discuss different ways to build movement into your workday. It could be as simple as asking for more time between meetings for everyone to walk the stairs, adding walking meetings into the schedule, asking for walking pads for office and home office use or adding a team building walk at lunch.

It’s also a good time to discuss policies that may be hindering movement for your team. For example: restrictive travel policies that may be hindering movement while on the road.

As a road warrior earlier in my career, I used to skip the rental car whenever possible and stay at a hotel close to the worksite so that I could walk to and from work. In some cases it saved the company money and in other cases, it shifted the allocation between rental car and hotel. Having that flexibility made it easier to incorporate movement into my day while on the road without increasing the total travel budget.

4/ Execute

Discuss the changes that you can either propose and/or execute as a team. Keep as many options as possible to accommodate everyone’s unique rhythms and flow.

5/ Measure the results

Have everyone track their own results at a minimum so that they can identify what’s working and what’s not. Use the data and feedback to continuously improve and refine the solutions.

If your team wants to share stats as a challenge do so. But remember it’s not about a short term win [how many steps you can do in June] but rather sustainable solutions that help each member of the team achieve more movement in their day and life.

Every step matters

 

I use the Apple Watch, Series 9 to track and monitor my movement. One of the numbers that I’ve been looking at more recently is the VO2 Max number in the Apple Health App. According to Apple, it is a useful measurement for everyone from the very fit to those managing illness.

VO2 Max is the maximum amount of oxygen your body can consume during exercise. The Apple Health App estimates the result with heart rate and motion data when you do a brisk walk, hike or outdoor run.

I have a very high VO2 max which I found surprising. Why? The only thing that I do for cardio now is walk. Occasionally, I walk on a treadmill or do a long walk with a friend but most of the time, I’m just walking back and forth to work, running errands in the neighborhood on foot and enjoying life. Looking at the trend of my VO2 max in my Health app, it is trending with my step count.

Cardio fitness doesn’t have to be hard or something that you do only in the gym. Building more steps into your day improves your VO2 max and your level of cardio fitness.

Other ways to get active

Time to connect on the mat is priceless because it improves your mind, body and spirit. Pilates in particular is a mind-body practice that increases strength and flexibility so that you feel better, move better and look better.

Just remember, mind-body classes that build strength and flexibility are important but they do not replace activities that improve cardio fitness. You need a balanced routine to build and maintain a balanced body.

Shannon Smith Living | Services & Resources
Pilates & | Balanced Body Pilates Mat Classes

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