Move More? Compete with Yourself

It's true for me.  Wearing a pedometer (in my case, ActiveLink from WeightWatchers) can make you move more.  I just love seeing that little graph on my computer racing through the calories I've burned off running or walking or swimming, and it makes me want to do more.

My highest count so far was 450 calories burned during one exercise marathon.  But I haven't yet worn it at Zumba, where I suspect it will go even higher.

The bottom line is that all these new electronic gadgets tend to make you want to exercise more and if you're a Type A like me, you just want it to go up and up and up.

They've been around for a while but it took some shoves to get me going.  I run two to four miles every day (annoyingly, they clock your activity for one week, then describe you -- and I came out as an "occasional athlete"), but it spurs you on, at least me on, to want to do better and better, even break your record from the day before.

(My sister-in-law, who's also very competitive, has a much fancier one, but she said it made her walk for over an hour on Mother's Day -- to make up for all the calories she planned on eating!)

But you have to keep going all day.

"Even if somebody works out 30 minutes a day, the fact that they're sitting and not moving for long periods of time for the rest of the day is, in and of itself, detrimental to their health and well-being, physiologically," said a recent study's researchers, Saurabh Thosar, an associate instructor at the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington, in a university news release, according to

I wrote about this two years ago when people were just starting to look at sports monitors.  The first ones were kind of bulky, and heavy, but now, you have the resources of a whole medical library on your wrist. Some tell your heart rate, blood pressure, time, distance, pace, while others send the data on your exercise directly to your computer.  What could be better than to see it in black and white in front of you?

For years I've kept a running log but that's nothing compared to actually seeing it graphed out on your screen.

I worry that I will get tired of it and pitch it to the back of the linen closet, next to the watchlike thing I got nine years ago when I had a personal trainer (paid for by my cancer center). But there's something about this that piques my desire to do better and better every day.

I still sit around a lot, but when I'm active, I'm, well, rewarded for it every time I look at the results.


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