Stay with your health goals and learn the tricks to tracking your activity!
In Lesson 3, Check-in 1, Lark reminded you to keep your phone on you and log your physical activity so you could stay aware of it and keep track of your trends. Gardening, sweeping, and washing windows and floors are just a few activities that can burn calories and lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, so they are worth telling your Lark coach about.
What if there were a way to get more mileage out of your activities without changing one thing about them? It turns out that you may be able to lose more weight while doing the same activities, for the same length of time, and at the same intensity. All you have to do is change your attitude!
Harvard researchers Ellen Langer, a social psychologist, and graduate student Alia Crum saw something that did not make much sense to them, and made an amazing discovery when they investigated. They wondered why hotel maids on average reported that they did not exercise much. Over one-third of them said they did not exercise at all, and another third said they did not exercise much. This was puzzling, since most of them met or exceeded national exercise recommendations and were clearly physically active for hours each day while on the job, moving equipment, vacuuming, and scrubbing.
In the previous checkin, you may have read about hotel maids who lost weight simply because they learned how active they truly were. In this checkin, you learned about those “hidden gem” activities that you may need to make a special effort to log. They can include housework, gardening, and caring for children, for starters.
Those hidden gem activities can be extra valuable if you are one of those busy people who struggles to find time for exercise. You may even find yourself needing to choose between getting in your exercise – minutes, steps, or calories – and getting the rest of your tasks done. These are some ways you can hit your activity goals and finish your other duties by the end of the day.
If you get to the end of the day feeling as though you haven’t rested for a moment, you may be right. This is possible even if you did not do a specific workout such as a fitness class or a brisk walk. Any time you move or push, pull, or lift something, you burn calories. Why not combine your calorie burn with checking items off of your to-do list?
To lose weight, you might be changing what you eat, taking smaller portions, and increasing your physical activity. At least, that is the approach that Lark takes. Those healthy changes are proven to help with weight loss, but what if you could lose even more weight with those same changes?
A recent Lark DPP check-in brought up an important real-life fact: healthy behavior changes can be challenging sometimes. Despite your healthy intentions, you may sometimes encounter obstacles such as low motivation, not enough time, too much stress, or irresistible temptations.
Should you just throw in the towel?
Of course you should not give up! Instead, keep making healthy choices as much as possible, and Lark will be there with encouragement and tips. Here is a tip for getting more diabetes prevention per ounce of effort that you give: think positive! Read on to discover why it works and how you can take advantage.
In Check-in 5, Lark encouraged you to schedule your activity into your calendar to make sure you save time for it. That raises another question. When is the best time to exercise? Trick question! There is no single best time of day to exercise for everyone. Whenever you exercise, you can burn calories and improve health.
The only thing that matters is your best time to exercise. The best time for you is a time that you will exercise, because getting active at all is far more important than getting active at a specific time. If you are unsure about when to exercise, here are some pros, cons, and considerations for various times of the day.
There is something special about morning exercisers: they are more likely to keep it up. That may be because they put their workouts at the top of their to-do lists. There are plenty of benefits to morning workouts, such as feeling better all day, and being more motivated to make healthy eating choices for the rest of the day to keep up the momentum.
You may already know that getting active is an important part of a diabetes prevention plan. People who hit a goal of at least 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity can lower their risk for type 2 diabetes by one-third or more. Benefits such as losing weight and lowering diabetes risk are, without a doubt, behind the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP)’s focus on physical activity.
Some of the other benefits of exercise are:
Lower risk for heart disease
Reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol and increase “good” HDL cholesterol
Lower blood pressure and reduce stroke risk
Better muscle tone
Lower risk for Alzheimer’s disease and certain cancers
Gain new skills and achieve goals
You are using Lark DPP to lower diabetes risk, and the program includes physical activity. Which one is best for you? Should you simply focus on achieving at least 150 minutes per week or moderate to vigorous-intensity activity, as emphasized in your Diabetes Prevention Program? Or are other activities okay, or even better? Here is the scoop on different workouts and which ones you should choose.
The workout possibilities are virtually limitless, so how do you even decide what activities to do? The great thing is that pretty much any physical activity of at least moderate intensity (think: brisk walking or water aerobics) counts.
Whatever activity or activities you choose, it or they can lower your risk for diabetes and promote other long-term healthy goals. Your activity can help you lose weight and prevent regain. It can increase your strength, stamina, and energy levels. It can make you look better and feel better.
Why might tracking your activity be helpful? Just like weighing yourself regularly, tracking your physical activity keeps you accountable so you know how much you have been doing. It can be motivating to see how even the smallest effort adds to your total, and seeing your numbers can inspire you to keep reaching for your next activity goal, such as hitting 150 minutes per week. Lark DPP can show you whether your activity has increased since starting the program.
This mission covers why tracking is helpful, and how to do it. Lark DPP can help by reminding you to log exercise. Lark DPP also picks up your movement when your smartphone is on you, and you can check the amounts to make sure they are correct.