Goal Setting for Exercise

From Sedentary to Exercise.

                                                                     By Christy Hall, PTA at CPR

In 2008 the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans stated that adults should accumulate at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week1.  This recommendation seems like too much for one individual to obtain with our busy life schedules, however, if we set our goals correctly, it can be easier to reach than it seems.

What are Goals? A goal is an observable and measurable end result having one or more objectives to be achieved within a more or less fixed time frame.2  

Setting a Goal.  When setting a goal to improve your fitness and enjoy the benefits of exercise make sure you answer the who, what, when, where, and how.  Some questions that can be asked when setting a goal could be: What will you do this week, How much will you do, when will you do it and How often will you do it.  Make sure that you start small and set a goal that is attainable.  For example your goal could be: "This week I will walk (WHAT) for 15 minutes (HOW MUCH) after dinner (WHEN) on three days (HOW OFTEN) out of the week.

Chart your Progress: Obstacles and life will occur when trying to reach a goal that you set.  It is easier to attain your goal if you can see your progress.  Charting your progress either on paper, computer, or smart phone will allow you to see how close you are to your goal.  There are many fitness apps available in android or apple stores that you may choose from.  A few of my favorites include:  mapmyfitness which will chart or map your walking/jogging route and tell you how many miles you have walked. Others, like myfitnesspal will count calories with each workout.  And some such as thePain Management Diary, lets you chart your exercise and any pains or obstacles you came across. Fitbit is currently a popular item.  It can track your fitness, calories and even your sleep.  Check it out on www.fitbit.com.

Rewards.  Always plan a reward for yourself for meeting your goal, whether daily or weekly.  Plan this reward when you create your goal.  Rewards such as a new item or a favorite food are easy and fun to reach.  Studies show that if a reward is created, you are more likely to reach your goals.

Now if we break down the original 2.5 hours a week across 5 days into 15 minutes blocks, then we can attain the goal by performing 2 sessions of 15 minute workouts, whether it be walking, yard work, yoga, or even dancing to your favorite song - IT counts.  So set your goals and starting enjoying the benefits of exercising and take control of your life through exercise.

1. Take Control with Exercise - Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program
2. www.businessdictionary.com/definition/goal.html