Realistic Goal Setting Helps People Stick With Exercise
achievable goals may be more effective in helping sedentary adults
maintain fitness programs than more challenging goals, according to
results of a study of sedentary adults who set varying levels of
fitness goals for an eight-week period.
prevalence of overweight and obesity increases among American children,
signs of risk for chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and
cardiovascular diseases — previously thought of as adult
disorders — are on the rise among youth.
research that looked at body weight, fat distribution and physical
fitness among 83 high school students in Colorado were presented today
at the 52nd American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Annual Meeting
in Nashville, Tenn.
people were involved in the study: 48 women and 30 men, ranging in age
from 30 to 58. All were inactive when they began the study. At the
start of the research project, participants wore pedometers to measure
the number of steps they took each day. This gave researchers a
baseline number for each participant, which was an average of 5,510
steps per day.
in the study were then randomly assigned to one of two groups. One
group was given a goal of 10,000 steps a day. The other group was given
a goal of increasing the number of daily steps by 2,500 over their
baseline. A control group was also measured at the start of the study,
but not given a goal to increase steps.
At the end of
the eight-week study, both groups with goals to increase steps showed
significant improvement in daily activity, as compared to the control
group, which had no significant increase in activity. Those who set a
goal of 10,000 steps per day averaged an increase of 3,036 steps over
their baseline. Those with a goal of adding 2,500 steps had an increase
of 2,879 steps each day.
most interesting is 42.3 percent of the people who set the smaller
goal, increasing steps by 2,500, were able to stick to their goal on
four out of seven days in the eight-week study," said Mark Davis,
M.Ph., lead researcher. "Only 15.4 percent of those who had a goal of
taking 10,000 steps per day met this goal on four days out of seven in
the study period."
out that the goal of taking 10,000 steps a day is widely promoted as a
measure of moderate physical activity. With the growing popularity of
pedometers, many people use this 10,000 step number as a goal.
"Based on our
study results, smaller goals, such as increasing daily steps by 2,500
steps at a time, might in fact be a more effective way to help people
not only reach a desired physical activity goal, but also stick with
of the research were presented at the recent 52nd American College of
Sports Medicine (ACSM) Annual Meeting in Nashville, Tenn.
College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine and exercise
science organization in the world. More than 20,000 international,
national, and regional members are dedicated to promoting and
integrating scientific research, education, and practical applications
of sports medicine and exercise science to maintain and enhance
physical performance, fitness, health, and quality of life.
For more information on the American College of Sports Medicine, www.acsm.org.