My Pedometer: The Great Motivator
- Friday, 03 February 2012
My gym, the Spectrum Club, introduced a program called Virgin HealthMiles* in 2006, and I’ve been wearing a pedometer called a GoZone at my every waking hour ever since. I wear it everywhere, attaching to my clothes on the waste band of my slacks or skirts. It counts out my steps, and if I press a little button it also tells me calories spent, miles walked, or the time of day. My goal each day is 12,000 steps and usually I overachieve. Since I joined the HealthMiles program six years ago, this little counter and I have been attached at the hip. I am also able to plug this little black counter that is my constant reminder to stay active into my computer and automatically upload my daily progress to my HealthMiles account online.
The mission of the HealthMiles program is to get in shape while earning money and other benefits. If my activities on the elliptical trainer, treadmill, bike, stair stepper, and on the pavement translate into 36,000 plus miles in a year (steps and bio measurements and fitness assessments and activities logged in all get transferred into miles according to the program’s guidelines), I can earn $250.00 worth of gift cards, t-shirts, a gym bag and water bottle, and six hours worth of private training sessions – over $650 worth of stuff. And, you guessed it, I’ve earned all that and am still pushing on. I also enter periodic challenges and take part in bonus opportunities.
But, every year around my January 17 HealthMiles renewal date, I go through the same thoughts. Should I keep going or should I give myself a break? I ask myself this question every year because staying in the program is very hard work. One year I even set a few ground rules for myself:
Work out six days a week instead of seven
Aim for no more than 10,000 steps a day
Enter no more than two challenges during the year
Be happy to end the year with only a maximum of 36,000 miles.
Guess what? I didn’t succeed in following them. I still workout everyday. I still aim for at least 12,000 13,000 steps everyday, and I’m not happy if I don’t earn 48,000 HealthMiles a year. My all-time tally since I joined Virgin HealthMiles in 2006 is a total of 23,804,539 steps and still counting, and I average 13,180 steps a day. And that doesn’t count Pilates, Yoga, and the exercises with weights that I do weekly.
But it’s not all bad. It’s my self-challenge. No one is telling me that I have to wear a pedometer all day, every day and download my steps and record my daily exercise accomplishments. No one has told me that I have to pay the $10.00 a month for Virgin HealthMiles to maintain a digital track of my every exercise move. I’m completely at choice. And, it’s all to the good. Even though it costs me $1200 a year to participate, I feel that I definitely come out ahead in the long run. Plus it motivates me to exercise. The pedometer is a huge motivator. And I think that anything that motivates me to exercise is a good thing. Plus I like the results. I’m trim and weigh no more than I did when I was twelve years old. Actually all the benefits of my exercise program are enormous. I don't need high blood pressure or cholesterol-lowering medications, I don't have aches and pains, I have good balance, my weight is normal, my body fat index is ideal, and I look fit and healthy. I like that part. Though I may be old, I still like to look good. No big belly for me. Okay, I'll admit it. I have a few flabby parts – who wouldn’t at age seventy-one? But I don't complain about them. I just wear long-sleeves.
I also like what I buy with my gift cards. In December 2010, I bought a great bag. This past December I bought a pair of those brightly colored skinny pants and a sweater for my husband. Really, if I didn’t do this much exercise would I even be able to fit into a pair of skinny pants and be brave enough to buy them in hot pink?
And mostly I don’t feel the worse for wear. Yet, this morning when my alarm went off, I really could have stayed right there in bed and left the pedometer on the bathroom counter where it resides every night. So, as I start another year of HealthMiles I tell myself it’s time to slow down. I tell myself it’s okay to take a day off once in a while. It’s okay not to amass so many steps every day. I know that I won’t ever give up exercising as long as I can walk, but I don’t have to be so obsessed about it. Well, your guess is as good as mine. Will this be the year that I slow down a bit? I’ll let you know.
* For more information about Virgin HealthMiles, here’s the link. https://www.virginhealthmiles.com.