Fitness Articles

Motivated to Move

Use Numbers to Your Advantage

By Elizabeth Evans Fryer, Health & Fitness Writer         
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Nothing motivates like numbers.

You see a set of golf clubs you’ve had your eye on for only $359, so you’re motivated to buy.

You read that 2,500 babies a year are born with brain and spinal cord defects, so you’re motivated to take folic acid during your pregnancy.

You catch 20 black bass, which is the daily limit, so you’re motivated to stop fishing.

You get the idea. You can also use numbers to motivate you to reach exercise goals:
  • Pedal the stationary bike for 35 minutes instead of 30 while maintaining an RPM of 80 instead of 70.
  • Increase the treadmill incline to 6% from 4% and walk 3.2 miles rather than 3.0.
  • Do one more push up.
  • If you have a piece of equipment with a “calories burned” readout, try to increase that number each time you get on. It’s very satisfying.
Or get yourself a pedometer that counts your steps, and try to increase the daily number of steps taken. Fitness experts say we should all aim for 10,000 steps a day, which is approximately five miles!

Make it a competition. I’ve read of a mother who gave a pedometer to each of her young sons to put on first thing when they got up. The first one to 1,000 steps each day got a surprise.

A while back, my husband and I took turns wearing my pedometer to our respective places of work. His number was more than twice mine, which only motivated me to move more. Those numbers get me every time.
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About The Author

Elizabeth Evans Fryer Elizabeth Evans Fryer
Elizabeth is a freelance writer specializing in fitness topics. Through her writing, she hopes to move others to be as excited as she is about staying healthy.

Member Comments

  • I'm a retired Math teacher and I love numbers, but I have to say this kind of motivation can sometimes hurt me, because I'm such a type A person that I don't know when to quit. - 9/18/2015 8:48:08 AM
  • How long until the kids figured out they could shake the pedometer to rack up their steps? :) But in all seriousness, I'm lost without mine if I forget it at home. - 10/21/2014 5:30:37 PM
  • My numbers motivator is doing a certain number of miles each week/month/year, and a certain number of fitness minutes. Also that ever so important 8 glasses of water! - 10/3/2014 9:44:39 AM
  • I really have a problem exercising. BUT I do have a pedomiter and after reading your comments I intend to start wearing it everyday and not just when I walk. Thanks for the reminder that I can do this one small step at a time. - 10/20/2012 11:59:24 AM
  • I am going out to buy one now...this will also motivate me to challenge myself. - 8/21/2012 2:22:27 PM
  • I love the step tracker built into my phone (sony ericsson) and the numbers do motivate especially when I see some days below my personal step goals for the day! I love tracking my steps and it's one of the easiest things to do when I keep my phone in my pocket from waking to sleeping! - 10/6/2011 12:53:11 PM
  • I, too, am hooked on my pedometer. It's a great reality check as well as a motivator. I don't know how many I've given as gifts, as well, to friends/family who've asked about mine.

    I now set mini-goals within the day - X number of steps by 10AM, 1PM, etc., to help ensure that I move throughout the day. - 9/6/2011 9:40:29 PM
  • MEMEME75
    Really liked this article. Love the idea of giving pedometers to the kiddos and sparking them to move more. Also, I too use number to motivate me. Currently, I am trying to get back to my old running time of 3 miles in 30 minutes. I love when I see my total time decrease each time I run. Today I shaved another minute off my time and am that much closer. Thanks! - 9/1/2011 9:47:15 AM
  • I agree, numbers are definitely a motivator, so it makes sense why I can get discouraged with the scale. But.... It also reminds me of how I can concentrate on all the OTHER numbers in my daily routine to motivate, instead of counting on one number all the time!! Great article :) - 9/1/2011 7:26:37 AM
  • Numbers are super motivating for me! I always find ways to "trick" myself into going faster, longer, or farther than I intended to. - 9/1/2011 12:28:16 AM
  • I just got myself a pedometer and I love it! Although right now my personal goal is more realistically 5,000 steps a day; but I'm working on increasing it! - 8/14/2011 8:22:09 AM
  • Will be purchasing a pedometor, I do need the extra motivation - 2/13/2011 5:02:57 PM
  • Well...for me at least, 10,000 steps is no where near five miles! More like just over three miles. Ten thousand steps might get my much taller husband near five miles though.
    Still, I love my pedometer! And 10,000 steps is just as much of a workout for me as 10,000 steps is for him. - 2/7/2011 9:55:54 PM
  • I put my pedometer on 1st thing in the morning, and wouldn't want to be without it. It gives me important feedback. When I see my steps are too low, it motivated me to get some extra steps in. - 2/6/2011 5:48:56 AM
  • Me too! - 11/18/2010 11:45:52 AM

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