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Season 3 | Episode 11 bonus content

One Thing Today: Step It Up

Habit tracking can help keep you honest when working towards a health goal.

May 23, 2023 | 8 minutes


National board-certified health and wellness coach Corin Groustra joins us to talk about the one thing you can do today to get up and get moving.

Speaker 1: Welcome back to another bonus episode of Until It's Fixed. I'm Kelly Chamberlain.

Speaker 2: And I'm Dr. Kenny Poole.

Speaker 1: As we cover ways to make health care work better for everyone, these bonus episodes will draw connections between the topic we recently discussed and our daily lives.

Speaker 2: We'll talk about one thing you and I can do today related to that topic, to take charge of our health and wellbeing.

Speaker 1: Welcome back, everyone. Last episode, we talked about building healthy habits [00:00:30] and how wellness and rewards programs offered through your employer insurance or even an app may influence your behavior. One of the techniques towards building healthy habits that we'll focus on today is tracking your steps, and you can do that using a smartwatch, a fitness wearable, a pedometer, or even just your phone, which I use my little health app that can track my steps for me. And you've probably heard the number 10,000 when it comes to how many steps you should be taking every day, but studies show that you really get health [00:01:00] benefits from lower numbers too. Anywhere from 4,000 to 8,000 is still great. Really, there is no magic number. The more you are walking, the better. So our one thing today is how to get moving and track your steps. We have Corin Grastra, a national board certified health and wellness coach here on the show to tell us more about how tracking your steps can be a great way to ramp up your fitness journey. So welcome to the show. Thank you so much, Corin, for being here.

Speaker 3: Yeah, so I'm really excited to [00:01:30] dig into the tracking because I have coached many, many, many people and have a lot of really practical strategies for this because it can kind of feel overwhelming for a lot of people. Yeah. Tracking is actually pretty near and dear to my heart because that was one of the things I actually did as an experiment. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, really two questions I was trying to answer. Does that help me to be consistent with my habits when I track and does it lead to greater results?

Speaker 1: Yeah. So tell me about why you started with 10,000 steps when you were experimenting with what might work.

Speaker 3: [00:02:00] In my circles, that's what everybody talks about, 10,000 steps. And to be honest, I am not an incredibly active person. I have a desk job. I've had a desk job for as long as I can remember, and I don't particularly love going for walks. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I don't have a dog. I've got a two-year-old now, but prior to that I wasn't a big walker. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so I started to track, to just see what can I do to get to that if I'm not a walker? Yeah. Because if you're going for a walk, it's a little bit easier, but if you're not, that number can just feel astronomical.

Speaker 1: [00:02:30] That makes sense. So then how did you get into it?

Speaker 3: So I was thinking about what are some small things I can do that I enjoy? Because one of the biggest things for me, and I tell this to clients every single day, is if you don't like what you're doing, you're not gonna do it consistently. There will come a time you're like, you know what? I only have one life to live, and I don't wanna spend it doing stuff. I hate <laugh> and it's easy to walk, but I don't wanna walk <laugh>. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So what can I do? How can I reach these 10,000 [00:03:00] steps? And so it was just becoming a little bit more aware. I did not reach 10,000 steps for quite a long time. I think honestly, when I started, I was at 2000 steps.

Speaker 1: Okay.

Speaker 3: And then I would set little goals for myself. Mm. Just adding a little bit here and a little bit there. Until eventually that became my new normal and I started to enjoy it.

Speaker 1: Oh, that's awesome. I love the incremental goals because I think you're right. If you're used to not walking very often, or you don't have that normally built into your day, the idea of 10,000 steps is probably like, how [00:03:30] could I achieve that? Something that I've heard talked about is even just doing five minutes, it's like putting a vote into the bucket of the person that you wanna be. So, Ooh,

Speaker 3: Love that you,

Speaker 1: Yeah. So they talk about, are you someone who works out or walks or doesn't walk? Let's use that example. And even if you walk for five minutes a day, you get to make a vote into the bucket that says, I am somebody who walks or cares about my health and wellness, or achieves the goals that I set out or has [00:04:00] integrity to the things that I wanna do. Whatever that bucket represents to you. And that's actually the bigger thing. So I really like this idea of incremental. Let's just start, put the vote into the bucket of the person you wanna be.

Speaker 3: Yep. And I love that. I love just thinking about your future self.

Speaker 1: So for your clients who are wanting to become someone who walks, what can they do to start

Speaker 3: Anything that gets you moving? Parking farther away, taking the stairs to, to the elevator, cleaning your house that has so much value. Hmm. And I [00:04:30] don't know if you, I, Kelly, I don't know if you've ever felt this, but have you noticed how much energy you have after a day of sitting versus a day of being up and moving?

Speaker 1: Oh yeah. Totally different.

Speaker 3: Totally different, right? Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, and it feels weird. Like I should have so much energy after I'm sitting all day. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But it's the opposite. So once you're up and moving, getting a couple steps, you're gonna be much more likely to stay standing and to stay moving as opposed to when you're sitting all day and you're not moving at all.

Speaker 1: Ooh, I love that. Like you don't need to be walking. You could be [00:05:00] moving in any way that feels good and natural to you, and that is going to add up. So can you talk a little bit about your relationship to tracking? Because I could also envision, for some people it becomes an obsessive thing. So how do we start to think about tracking and how do we use that to our benefit in a healthy way?

Speaker 3: You're completely right. It's not about 10,000 steps. There's nothing magic about 9,000 versus 10,000. That's not the point. The point is to get moving and to be active. It's not about [00:05:30] the number. It's about what that number represents to you. Did I put in what I was hoping to get out of today? Going for 10,000 steps on a day, you've got 10 back-to-back meetings where you're sitting at your desk. Probably not realistic. And that's where it can become an issue, is where we are holding ourselves to a standard or to a goal. Just because we set the goal without kind of accounting for life that happens and being gentle with ourselves, you're gonna get so much farther and be so much more consistent when you're gentle with yourself than when you're hard [00:06:00] on yourself.

Speaker 1: That makes sense. I think this idea of like being gentle with yourself is one that I hear all the time too. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So what does it look like to give yourself grace? If you have a day where things don't go well or you're not hitting your goals.

Speaker 3: It's really just a culmination of what are we doing consistently over a long period of time? That's what's gonna get you your results. Mm-hmm. When we can say like, that was hard today. I'm frustrated that I didn't reach my goal, take that energy and instead of feeling bad, make a plan for how am I gonna get in my steps [00:06:30] tomorrow?

Speaker 1: That's something I reflect on a lot is my best looks different every day. There are days when I can get 15,000 steps because I live in a city and I'm walking around and I'm out, and there are days when I will get 300 steps. So I also love that a lot of the tracking tools have like a weekly average. And I think sometimes that might be helpful to zoom out of the day-to-day and to look at your habits overall, whether that's week by week or month by month, and if you're increasing, to see those [00:07:00] as incremental wins that are meaningful. Thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate it. This has been so helpful.

Speaker 3: Thank you so much for having me.

Speaker 1: I really appreciated from this conversation the opportunity to think about incremental goals and achievable goals. I am somebody who will set the biggest goal and be disappointed that I'm not making progress. And then I'll start to do like a self-shame cycle, which is not helpful. So when I wake up, the first thing is for [00:07:30] me to get outside and to just take a walk. And if I can do that, my entire day looks different. I can tell in my conversations and my relationships, I'm showing up differently because I have had that time to just get centered. So tracking my steps is a gauge of how much am I moving? But the biggest metric that I'm looking at is really how I feel because movement is directly connected to my mental health. So thank you all for listening. I hope you can land on what those things are for you that feel good and support you in thriving. [00:08:00] And if it's walking or something else, if it's dancing in your living room, movement really can look so many different ways. And so think about what feels joyful to you and find the opportunity to really cultivate that. Join us next week as we talk about financial health and medical expense accounts. Make sure to follow or subscribe wherever you listen so you can get notified when a new episode is live. Catch you next time.