25, 10,000, 150, 80-20, 30, and 120. Are these my suggestions for this week’s lottery drawing? No, not at all! These are not random numbers either. They are numbers that different clients of mine have heard from me for different reasons at different times throughout the years. What are they all about?
To get more people to take care of their health and fitness, certain numbers have been set as goals for the population. The numbers, determined by scientists and exercise physiologists, are established based on years of research and based on what is good for the public health. It is thought that if we can concentrate on attainable goals, our lives will improve. It’s nice to tell people to walk, lose weight, or exercise but that is very abstract and non-specific. For most people, setting goals is important. Being able to assess a numeric value to a goal is a good aid in being able to reach one’s objective.
There are five basic rules of goal setting:
- Set goals that motivate you
When you set goals for yourself, it is important that they motivate you and are important to you. If you have little interest in the outcome then the chances you will work to make them happen are slim. Motivation is key to achieving goals.
- Set SMART goals
SMART stands for:
- Time Bound
- Set goals in writing
The physical act of writing down a goal makes it real and tangible. You have no excuse for forgetting about it. As you write, use the word “will” instead of “would like to” or “might.”
- Make an action plan
This step is often missed in the process of goal setting. You get so focused on the outcome that you forget to plan all of the steps that are needed along the way. By writing out the individual steps, and then crossing each one off as you complete it, you’ll realize that you are making progress towards your ultimate goal.
- Stick with it!
Remember, goal setting is an ongoing activity not just a means to an end. Build in reminders to keep yourself on track, and make regular time-slots available to review your goals. Your end destination may remain quite similar over the long term, but the action plan you set for yourself along the way can change significantly. Make sure the relevance, value, and necessity remain high.
Now that you know how to set goals, let’s go back to all those numbers and see what they mean.
The number twenty-five is the difference on the body mass index (BMI) between normal weight and being overweight. Being overweight can bring on many health issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cancer and fatty liver disease.
To calculate your BMI, you would need to take your height, in centimeters and square it and then divide it by your weight in kilograms. (Or simply use a BMI calculator like this one.) If this number is below 25, then your weight should not have a negative impact on your health. Numbers 25-29.5 signify that you are overweight and have some risk. 30 and above means you are obese and your health is definitely at risk.
10,000 steps per day
A person should be taking 10,00 steps each day. The average person who works in an office job takes about 4,500-5,000 steps per day. But for our health, set a goal of 10,000 per day. Today, it’s easy to track. You can purchase an old-fashioned pedometer and attach it to your belt, or us a fitness tracker on your wrist. Many phones today have built in trackers. At the end of each day, you can look and see how you have done and can make improvements as needed.
150 minutes of aerobics, per week, is what is needed for minimum health benefit. Aerobic exercise is any exercise that elevates your pulse rate. Brisk walking, running, swimming, skipping rope, among other exercises, will bring you a fit heart and lungs. This type of exercise is the centerpiece of all exercise! Even small amounts are of value. But if you want to enjoy good benefit for your efforts, 30 minutes 5 times a week, or 38 minutes 4 times a week will not only help your heart and lungs, it will clear your head and help your thinking, too.
The 80-20 rule
Stop trying to be perfect! No one is. Obviously you try your best to better your health by exercising and eating right, but being 80% compliant on your program is going to bring huge results. Trying to be perfect won’t work and when you make a mistake, you might throw away the whole thing—that is the danger of “all or nothing” thinking. So as we mentioned above, keep the goals attainable. You will mess up sometimes, but that is what we humans do, we make mistakes. Get back on track and remember 80-20 is just fine.
The 80-20 rule has another meaning. It’s 80% eating and 20% exercise when it comes to weight loss. Exercise is important with or without weight loss—it may be the closest thing to the good-health pill that we have. When it comes to losing weight, you have to have the food right. Otherwise, you will have to exercise all day, every day, and that isn’t practical for any of us.
30 minutes a day
We know that all exercise, for any amount of time, is good. 30 minutes of daily aerobic exercise will give you the best “bang for the buck.” Time is always an issue for all of us. Still, what you get out of 30 minutes can lengthen your days and bring you quality of life even into old age. If you are really pressed for time, then either do two 15 minute bouts of aerobic exercise or three 10 minute bouts. The benefits are still excellent!
120 is the number for a good aerobic pulse for people aged 30-60 years old. Exceptions exist for those below 30 and above 60, but this is a good number to work around.
We bless each other to live for 120 years and it’s what we strive for. To increase your chances of getting there, do your best to put all these numbers into play. Setting goals and using these numbers will “add hours to your day, days to your year, and years to your life.”