October Challenge - 2018
It's that time again! As we begin a new month, we also begin a new challenge. For the past couple of month's, Beck has been on her own and has done a fantastic job of challenging herself and reporting back to us the results of her challenge. Way to go, Beck!
Why are these challenges so important to us? Well, quite simply...motivation. By challenging ourselves and each other, it makes it more of a game. People don't play games to lose, they play to win! That's just common sense. And based on that, it makes sense that these challenges serve as a competition amongst ourselves and each other. Achieving the goals outlined in each challenge gives us a great sense of accomplishment
Studies have shown that having a specific goal with a set timeframe is the most effective way to accomplish anything. This is the fundamental reason these fitness challenges work.
For the month of October, Beck and I are committing to a 31 day challenge of killer cardio. The daily goal is to do enough cardiovascular activity to earn at least 30 active minutes on our Fitbit. This will keep us active throughout the month.
We wanted to try again with the Bat Wings Challenge that we started back in 2016. However, I called that off this time. My body is a wreck and I'm off of my pain killers until at least November. So I want to do something a little easier for arthritis. Beck agreed with choosing something a little easier for right now.
According to the US National Library of Medicine, "there is incontrovertible evidence that regular physical activity contributes to the primary and secondary prevention of several chronic diseases and is associated with a reduced risk of premature death." For this reason, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity per week. The CDC recommends this activity be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, spread throughout the week.
If that's not challenging enough, the CDC reports more extensive health benefits for increasing aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes per week of moderate-intensity or 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity per week, or an equivalent combination of both. Obviously, the more you do, the more you'll benefit. This is the inspiration behind this month's Killer Cardio challenge.
Tracking & Reporting
So how will we track our progress on this challenge? As mentioned above, each of our Fitbits will track our active minutes each day. By default, Fitbit assigns us a 30 minute goal for active minutes each day based on the CDC recommendation mentioned above. This was the basis of our challenge, to meet that default goal.
Since Fitbit tracks this for us, it will require very little effort on our parts to keep track of our active minutes. I have created some new 31 Day Challenge worksheets in the spirit of Halloween for this month's challenge. These worksheets will serve as a checklist for us.
So once we've achieved our 30 minute active goal each day, we can mark it off on our worksheet since both of us are somewhat scatter brained and will forget, at least a time or four, whether or not we've met it for the day. These are not required, but were created to be helpful.
What is required, is that each of us posts once per week showing our status for the week and include the Fitbit chart showing the active minutes for the week. To get the active minutes chart for our post, we will log on to fitbit.com and find the Steps block on our Dashboard. In the upper right hand corner, it shows a drop down menu with two footprints. We'll expand that menu and click on the lightening bolt to get to the Active Minutes chart. This will allow us to grab a screenshot of our active minutes for the week in order to include it in our status post.
The idea for this challenge is to make sure we're both active. This isn't a competition to see who has the most active minutes. It's just to have at least 30 active minutes per day for 31 days. If we go over that goal, great!
That said, if we both have at least 30 active minutes per day for 31 days during October 2018, then we've both won and we will schedule a walk at Lake Eola and a lunch together. We live quite a distance a part these days so if we both win, this will be a great treat for us.
The consequence for not accomplishing the goal will be to walk a lap at Lake Eola with a sign on our shirt saying, "Cardio killed me, I did not kill it." Also, the individual will repeat the challenge until they accomplish 31 days of at least 30 active minutes. But only the person that failed the goal will repeat the challenge.
So, the purpose of this challenge is to develop a new habit of being active each and every day. This doesn't have to be a vigorous workout everyday, but some form activity that is more strenuous than casual walking in increments of 10 minutes or more that add up to at least 30 minutes per day. This aligns with the recommendations of the CDC and the US National Library of Medicine.
We will post our stats weekly with a chart provided by our Fitbit accounts. If we both win, our reward is a little get together for lunch and a workout/walk. Failure means walking a lap alone with a sign admitting defeat and repeating the challenge alone until the goal is accomplished.
Let the challenge begin!