Saturday, May 13, 2017

Finding Your Why

Last weekend, I attended The Fitness Summit, in Kansas City, Missouri. Presentation topics included Nutrition, Training the Hybrid Athlete, Wellness, Uncommon Mobility Methods, and Gym Design. At first, it seemed like every presentation had a different angle: offer many choices, don't offer choices; recommend pre-packaged foods, encourage food journaling. Overwhelmingly, however, every presenter stressed the importance of "Finding Your Why."

Finding your why is important in all aspects of life. Many people focus on what they have to do. The endless tasks continue to mount up, and we may wonder why we're never getting ahead. Life gets a lot simpler when we stop to ask ourselves why we do things.

For the purpose of this email, think about why your health and fitness goals are important to you. Whether your goals are specific or general, what is it that motivates you to exercise and keep a healthy diet? By focusing on the underlying reason behind our motivations, preforming the tasks, be they exercise or healthy eating, can all start to feel much easier.

My why(s):
  • regular exercise decreases the pain I feel from rheumatoid arthritis
  • I come from a very active family and it's important to me to maintain the family value of running and exercise
  • exercise keeps me emotionally stable
What are your Why(s)?

Adults will Walk For Money, Charity

A recent study showed that financial or charitable-giving incentives motivated adults to move more. In a 16 week study, 94 adults aged 65 and older were given pedometers and challenged to increase their daily steps by 50%. Participants were assigned to one of four groups.

Control: received weekly feedback on progress
Financial: received a $20 reward
Social-Goals: received $20 donation to charity
Combined: received $20 that they could choose to cheep, donate to charity, or split between themselves and the charity

All three incentive groups met the step goal on more days than the control group. The financial group took more than double the steps taken by the control group, and the social-goals group eked out a few hundred steps more per day than the financial group. The combined group walked less than the other two incentive groups but still more than the control group.

That said, a 4-week postintervention follow-up found no difference in steps among the four groups, with all three incentive groups dropping back to the same level as the controls.

How do you feel about these results? It seems that incentive schemes can increase adults levels of walking, but only temporarily. What would be a more long term plan for success in increasing activity.

The study appeared in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine (2017;