Game on for a “green day” challenge.
No, not the rock band.
Between now and the end of the year, I challenged myself to make every day what I call a Fitbit “green day.”
It means turning 4 key metrics green on my tracker every day – 10,000 steps, 5 miles, 30 active minutes and 2,000 calories burned.
It’s part of the “daily dozen” actions I take every day, loosely related to my learning project.
Why? Because exercise changes your brain, as Gretchen Reynolds reports in Does Exercise Really Make Us Smarter?
The mind-body connection keeps your brain in shape and ready to learn – not to mention the myriad of other benefits to health and happiness.
What helps me go green every day?
- Plan ahead. When I’m planning my day, I decide in advance when I’ll exercise. If I’m traveling, I pack my exercise gear and hit the fitness center.
- Get steps in early. Being active early in the day builds momentum. It doesn’t necessarily mean a morning workout, although that helps. It means standing instead of sitting. It means pacing instead of standing.
- Take the stairs. As a habit, I take the stairs instead of the elevator if I’m going up or down fewer than 4 floors. This started as a “microresolution” inspired by Caroline Arnold‘s Small Move, Big Change.
- Take a walking break. If my meetings are mostly in my office rather than on another floor or in another building, I walk a lap or two around the floor every few hours. This has the added benefit of being a “managing while wandering around” exercise and connecting with colleagues.
- Get a dog. A walking buddy is always mind with our rescue dog, Kincaid. His enthusiasm pulls me up hills and takes me down paths I might never have discovered on my own.
- Find a buddy. My husband exercises with me and motivates me when I still have a few thousand steps to get to green late in the day. After I spent an hour on the treadmill last week and was still short of 10,000 steps, he went walking with me (in the rain, no less) to get past the finish line for the day.
And if you’re having one of those days where nothing feels like it’s going right, take a walk. Put one foot in front of the other. Rack up steps.
There’s an amazing ability to gain new perspective and solve problems while you’re taking a walk.
So have a green day. And another. And another.