For this week, your small change is to walk or run for 20 minutes on at least three days this week. The small changes are created to vary one part of your physical activity routine each week (keep in mind, if you didn’t hit the week 1 goal, start there). You can remember each part using the acronym FITT (though not necessarily in this order):
Frequency - how often you do the activity
Intensity - how much you exert or challenge yourself
Time - how long you do the activity
Type - what activity you choose to do
Why can’t I double my workout time AND add more days all at once?
You know your body best and may choose to change out multiple parts of your routine periodically. You may try a new workout class in addition to your regular routine, adding a day (frequency) and a new activity (type). This approach can work for some people too but sometimes when you change too much too fast, it is difficult to sustain the new level of activity. However, small changes made consistently over time are more sustainable.
The goals you’ll see here each week were created to change one part of the routine at a time to allow your body to adapt gradually. Frequency can be a place to start so you can build activity into each day and create a habit of moving more. As it becomes more of a routine, we hold the number of days the same and add more time to the activity. Starting off, you may do the same activity at a moderate pace or intensity - think brisk walking where you feel warm and your heart beats faster but you could still talk to your walking buddy. Over time, you may choose to add bursts of jogging to increase the intensity or try a new activity (type) all together like that Zumba class mentioned above. Do you see how it works?
Now that you understand FITT, you’ve got a way to vary your routine and create your own physical activity goals in the future. As you continue with the program, notice how each weekly change feels in YOUR body. When it becomes too easy, that can be a sign it’s time to adjust your goals so that you continue to improve your fitness level. If the activity is too challenging to complete, changes are needed as well. Remember, it’s important to strive for realistic goals. If a physical activity plan doesn’t work for your current fitness level, it’s important to change the goal.