Wednesday, May 16

The Trickle-Down Effect

by Katherine Matutes, PhD
I recently challenged my coworkers to an exercise competition. Since I have more than 15 years on them, I didn’t expect to win – it was really just a ploy to motivate us all to exercise more.
The idea sprung from a conversation we had recently shared, lamenting the fact that we weren’t exercising as much as we all knew we should. (We’re all exercise professionals in administrative roles.) So I threw down the gauntlet:
The Challenge:
A 30-day exercise competition where the person who accrued the most minutes of exercise throughout the month of May would be crowned winner.
The Prize:
Dinner out on the losers – and, of course, bragging rights.
Keeping Track:
We created a communal calendar to keep track of our own minutes and see how the competition was faring.
Defining the Terms:
An interesting negotiation ensued: What constitutes exercise? We agreed on anything that gets your heart rate up and feels like exertion. The discussion included at least one task that would not have occurred to me: mowing the lawn.
I realized this of course meant that I would have to cut our grass in order to keep up with my male competitors who do their own lawns. When I told my husband, he sported a wide grin and practically ran out the house to get gas for our lawn mower!
My Experience:
My kids were eager to help me, offering daily to participate in any activity they could get me to do so they could help. In addition to my own individual workouts, we’ve swum laps together at the JCC, gone roller blading and practiced boxing in the backyard. What started as a personal quest to improve my own fitness has trickled down to improve my family’s fitness as well.
I realize it can be difficult for the average person to adopt some of my tactics. After all, I work in a fitness center and hear the whir of the cardio equipment taunting me to move more. I can literally step outside my office and grab a quick workout. So what intrigued me most about this challenge was the possibility of incorporating more movement into my everyday life, especially after I realized I could include my family. It would not have been a sustainable shift in my routine if I was always asking my husband to pick up some extra family detail while I went off to do my own exercise.
I’m interested in hearing what activities other families do to get moving more. I hope you’ll share your ideas here, and perhaps as a community, we can create a further “trickle-down effect” to help other families creatively move more, too.
Additional Note:
My kids, ages 10 and 8 years old, have also been inspired to step up their own goals. They’re competing for the second time in the JCC's annual kids triathlon on Sunday, June 24 – but this year, they’re gearing up for the race through the JCC's kids triathlon training program with USAT-certified coach Sean Edwards. There are still spots open if your young athletes are looking for some inspiration! Click here for more information.
More about Katherine Matutes, PhD

No comments:

Post a Comment