25, 10,000, 150, 80-20, 30, and 120. Are these my suggestions for this week’s lottery drawing? No, not at all. These are not random numbers either. They are numbers that different clients of mine have heard from me for different reasons at different times throughout the years. But what are they all about?
In an effort to get more people to take care of their health and fitness, certain numbers have been set as goals for the population. The numbers, determined by scientists and exercise physiologists, are established based on years of research and based on what is good for the public health. It is thought that if we can concentrate on attainable goals, our lives will improve. It might be nice to tell people to walk, lose weight, or exercise, but that is very abstract and non-specific. For most people, setting goals is important, and being able to assign a numerical value to a goal is a good aid in being able to reach your objective.
There are five basic rules of goal setting:
- Set Goals That Motivate You
When you set goals for yourself, it is important that they motivate you and are important to you. If you have little interest in the outcome, then the chances of you putting in the work to make them happen are slim. Motivation is key to achieving goals.
- Set SMART Goals
SMART stands for:
- Set Goals in Writing
The physical act of writing down a goal makes it real and tangible. You have no excuse for forgetting about it. As you write, use the word “will” instead of “would like to” or “might.”
- Make an Action Plan
This step is often missed in the process of goal setting. You get so focused on the outcome that you forget to plan all of the steps that are needed along the way. By writing out the individual steps, then crossing each one off as you complete it, you’ll realize that you are making progress towards your ultimate goal.
- Stick With It!
Remember, goal setting is an ongoing activity, not just a means to an end. Build in reminders to keep yourself on track, and make regular time-slots available to review your goals. Your end destination may remain quite similar over the long term, but the action plan you set for yourself along the way can change significantly. Make sure the relevance, value, and necessity remain high.
Now that you know how to set goals, let’s go back to your numbers and see what they mean.
25: The number twenty-five is the difference on the body mass index between normal weight and overweight. Being overweight can bring on many health issues, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and fatty liver disease. To arrive at this calculation, you would need to take your height in centimeters and square it, and then divide it by your weight in kilograms. If this number is below 25, then your weight should not have a negative impact on your health. From 25-29.5, you are overweight and have some risk, and 30 and above means you are obese and your health is definitely at risk.
10,000: This is the number of steps a person should be taking each day. The average person who works in an office job takes about 4,500-5,000 steps per day. To be healthy, set a goal of 10,000 per day. These days, it’s easy to track. You can purchase an old-fashioned pedometer and attach it to your belt or use a fitness tracker on your wrist. Many phones today have built-in trackers. At the end of each day, you can look and see how you’ve done and can make improvements as needed.
150 is the minimum number of minutes spent doing aerobic exercise that we need per week for minimum health benefit. Aerobic exercise is any exercise that elevates your pulse rate. Brisk walking, running, swimming, and skipping rope, amongst others, will bring you a fit heart and fit lungs. This type of exercise is the centerpiece of all exercise and even small amounts of it are of value. If you want to enjoy really good benefit for your efforts though, 30 minutes, 5 times a week, or 38 minutes, 4 times a week will not only help your heart and lungs; it will clear your head and help your thinking too.
80-20: Stop trying to be perfect! No one is. Obviously, you try your best to better your health by exercising and eating right, but even just being 80% compliant on your program is going to bring huge results. Trying to be perfect won’t work and when you make a mistake, you might throw away the whole thing—that is the danger of “all or nothing” thinking. So, as we mentioned above, keep the goals attainable and remember that you will mess up sometimes; that is just what we humans do— we make mistakes. Get back on track and remember 80-20 is just fine.
80-20 Again: Once you get older, it’s 80% the eating and 20% the exercise when it comes to weight loss. Exercise is important with or without weight loss—it may be the closest thing to a good-health pill that we have—but when it comes to losing weight, you have to have the food right or you will have to exercise all day, every day, and that isn’t practical for any of us.
30: These are the minutes that should be the minimum for aerobic exercise each day. We know that all exercise is good for any amount of time, but this will give you the best bang for your buck. Time is always an issue for all of us, and what you get out of 30 minutes can lengthen your days and bring better quality of life, even into old age. If you are really time pressured, then either do two 15 minute bouts of aerobic exercise or three 10 minute bouts. The benefits are still excellent!
120: One hundred and twenty is a good aerobic pulse for people aged 30-60 years old. Obviously, if you are younger and can work more intensely, it might be better, and if you work below that in your later years but stay aerobic, that is also good. However, this is a good number to work around. Oh yes, and don’t forget— it is the number of years Moshe Rabbeinu lived, and it is what we strive for. So, if you if you want to increase your chances of getting there, then let’s put all these numbers into play. Setting goals and using these numbers will “add hours to your day, days to your year, and years to your life.”
The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.