Posted in Get Moving

Exercise Benefits You Don’t Have to Wait For

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Why Move?

It turns out that the reasons people SHOULD exercise, and the reasons I WANT to exercise aren’t always the same.  Should I be active because it’s good for my heart?  Of course – especially when heart disease is in the family history, we all should make it a priority.  Because it reduces my risk of developing cancer?  You bet, especially with that in the family history too.  Because it will keep me looking slimmer?  Heck yeah.  But, exercise benefits don’t always have to be the long-term results, usually they are right there in front of you, all you have to do is tune in to the NOW.

Those tidbits of knowledge are all well and good, but they don’t get the job done for me.  Knowing all those things and feeling that urge to move are two different animals.  So what exercise benefits get me off the computer, away from the tv, off my butt?

MY Reasons

I feel alive

When I’m exercising, my senses seem to wake up.  Music sounds better when I’m moving, colors seem a little brighter.  Getting that blood flow picking up through my body and brain seems to clear my head and I just feel more alive.

I feel hopeful

I have some serious family history of chronic diseases.  So why would I say I feel hopeful?  Lifestyle, that’s why.  Research shows that while genes can contribute to developing illness, lifestyle is a much bigger contributor.  Often, our lifestyle coincides with those we spend the most time with, so it makes sense that family members would have similar lifestyles.  I have hope because maybe I will be the one who breaks that pattern by living differently.

I get a mental break

When I’m exercising, I can allow myself not to think about all the things that are creating stress in my life.  Sometimes I have to remind myself that it’s ok not to think stress reductionabout them, it doesn’t mean I don’t care (sound familiar?).  When I choose to change the channel in my head, even for a little while, it does my mind wonders.


It takes the edge off my stress

When my life seems overwhelming, getting out and moving not only gives me a break, but the effects last beyond the workout.  I generally feel more even-keel and clear-headed when I’ve been exercising, and if I can’t move, I notice the difference!

I can brainstorm

Some of my best ideas for my job and volunteer activities come to me when I’m walking.  Maybe it’s because my energy picks up when I’m moving, or I feel more confident about myself when I am active, but I get a charge out of coming up with ideas when I’m walking.

Small accomplishments give big rewards

When I’m just starting out, being able to go “X” number of yards/minutes, etc. without walking (usually pretty short) makes me feel REALLY good.  I like to bump it up just a little bit each time – it doesn’t take much and my emotional reward is usually bigger than the achievement.  I’ll take it!

exercise motivationI feel more capable

When I’ve been active, I feel ready and motivated to help people with things, fix things, move things, carry things.  When my friend needed someone to get into the attic above her garage and move stuff, I volunteered because I felt agile and strong enough to do it.  It was awesome!  She thanked me, but I felt lucky to get the chance to test myself out.

I’m fighting the good fight 

-Against Father Time.  The more time I spend inactive, the more of the “inevitable” aches, pains, breakdowns occur, and the worse they are.  When I get moving regularly, I feel like I’m punching the “inevitable” in the gut.  I do feel some of those things, but man, they could be so much worse.

I recover from things faster

Like I said, “when” I’m inactive, those physical problems start creeping up on me.  But, when I’m active, it seems like it takes less time to reel those symptoms back in.   I accept that I will never be pain-free, but it’s much more bearable when I feel like I have a little bit of control over it.

I can keep up with my kid

I’m older than the mothers of the kids in my daughter’s class, so I know I need to make a point to keep myself strong to stay on par with them and the kids. In fact, my increase energydaughter sometimes has trouble keeping up with me when we jog together.  OK, I realize it’s only because my legs are longer – that won’t last much longer.

I could probably go on about my own exercise benefits, but you get the point.  It’s not just about being thin, or preventing disease way down the road.  It’s satisfaction that comes with all the little things I get in the meantime.  Those are the things that get me going.


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Posted in Get Moving

Steps Per Day – You Gotta Start Somewhere


You have probably read by now that a common recommendation is taking 10,000 steps per day.  Most people walk about 3,000-5,000 each day, which doesn’t give us much health benefit.  With our computer-working, tv-watching, long-commuting lifestyles, we sit way too much. It’s turning out to be just as hazardous for our health as smoking.

Studies have shown that compared to people doing nothing, doing something, even if it’s less than the recommended daily amounts, can reduce your risk of death by anywhere from 14% to 20%.

In fact, a new phrase is making the rounds these days “Sitting is the new smoking“.   Prolonged sitting puts us at risk for heart muscle shrinkage and stiffening, increasing our risk for heart failure.  So you sedentary non-smokers out there, you’re nowhere near in the clear from chronic disease and early death.

There is good news, though!  According to the American Heart Association, people who have been inactive for a long time can reverse the damage by getting moving.

Disclosure: This website uses affiliate links, meaning if you click on one and make a purchase, I may get a commission at no additional cost to you.


Take some, that’s what! You’re probably thinking “Yeah, right, I’ll just pick right up and start going 10,000 steps per day.  Sure thing”.   Well, I, for one, can’t do that either, so I’m right there with you.  Even better news, actually, is that some of the greatest

steps per day how to get started
Photo by Bianca on

benefits occur when you go from NOTHING to SOMETHING.  Studies have shown that compared to people doing nothing, doing something, even if it’s less than the recommended daily amounts, can reduce your risk of death by anywhere from 14% to 20%.

So go move a little!


Notice I didn’t just say “so go workout” or “go for a run”.  Really, just get moving in some way.  According to the Centers for Disease Control, you can get in as little as three 10-minute chunks per day to gain the long-term health benefits. If that’s more than you can do right now, that’s ok too.

Since the research says moving more, even if it’s less than recommended, is beneficial, let’s talk about how to just move more.  You don’t need to plan an elaborate workout routine, just get your body going and see how you feel.  At the start, don’t overdo it – you may feel fantastic at the time, but it might hit you the next day.  Tailor your plan from here on based on how you feel after the fact.  Be sure to figure out what you like to do, identify a small first goal once you know your baseline. Don’t know your baseline?  First you need to estimate how much you’re moving as of now, or how many steps a day you’re getting typically.  Keep reading and I’ll help you figure that out.


Click the image for free download!  steps per day starting point

Let’s start with what you can do right now.  Get up and walk around your house, apartment, dorm, wherever you live.  Count how many steps it takes from you to go from point A to point B.  Find a good little path or route you can count as your standard length.  Remember how many steps that was.  This way you can start to gage what your baseline is – you can begin to estimate how many steps per day you’re doing when you use that as  your yardstick.  (Unless you have an activity tracker, than you’re ahead of the game!)

In my house, I identified a loop that’s about 23 steps.  I also have 14 stairs.  If you really think hard about it, how many times do you walk up and down the stairs (if you have them) and how many times do you walk from, say, the couch to the fridge?  How many steps is it from your bed to the kitchen?  Start gathering up your own data so you can add it up and identify your starting point for this journey.


Well, knowing your starting point needs to be for a reason, right?  You’re here because you wanted to know something about how to get more steps per day or just be more active, so let’s start making a plan.

Let’s say today you figured out you’re getting about 2,000 steps per day.  If you’ve been really sedentary, you may be getting less.  Don’t sweat it – at least not yet ;), you will get there. Did you look around your surroundings and identify distances?  Where can you add a lap or two?

I recently got a new Fitbit, and can start counting flights of stairs in my daily goals.  I figure, it doesn’t take much time out of my day to do one extra trip up and down each time I use the stairs.  If I’m not carrying loads of laundry or anything, it’s totally doable.  For me, each flight adds 28 steps and gets my heart pumping a little harder.

I just had to reboot my computer modem, so while that was happening, I did a quick walk up the street (it’s beautiful out, so I’m taking advantage!) while I waited.  When I put something in the microwave, I walk my little 23-step loop until I hear the *beep*.

Notice I haven’t talked about working out.  I’m dealing with my own health problems and chronic foot pain, so this is my strategy for the time-being too.  I can already tell my step count is increasing in the few days since I got back on track.


Tomorrow I’m shooting for five extra trips up the stairs and five-hundred more steps than today.

Today you can start by getting your baseline and moving a little.  Tomorrow bump it up by about 10%.  See how you feel and plan for the next day from that.  Then, come back again to share what you discovered and learn how to keep building up!


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increase steps per day

Posted in Get Moving

Let’s Get You Moving! Fitness Motivation for Exercise Strugglers


How many times has your New Year’s resolution been to exercise regularly?  If you’re like many of us, you lost count.  What about all the springtime promises to yourself that you would be swimsuit ready by summer?  These things don’t work but we keep trying them over and over, expecting a different result.  I don’t think that makes us insane (Einstein didn’t really say that, but it’s incredibly wise!), but we are extremely well-intended.  This website is dedicated to everyone who has ever said “I need to start exercising!”. Then you started, then stopped, repeatedly, year after year.

Maybe you’ve been inactive for a long time and haven’t even taken the first step.  You might be getting moving but think “I could never be one of those ‘fit’ people“.  Obstacles may keep popping up and it’s really hard to stay motivated.  I’ve been in all those places.

Who am I?

My name is Susan Masterson, and I’m here to help move you from “I’m gonna” to “I’m still doing it!”.  I’ve had a lifelong struggle with keeping myself moving regularly, so I get it.  I focused my doctoral dissertation  on how to get started, and stick with an exercise routine for the long-haul.  I will bring you research-based ideas to motivate yourself, keep at it, and thrive!

How should you use this website?

I will publish pages full of  ideas, images, experiences, and my journey as I work to keep myself  moving.  I’ll share research I find about what works, and suggestions to build activity into your life so it becomes second nature.  You will choose from posts to help you “Get Moving”, “Keep Going”, or you can read my pages about research I have found to give you some of the “why” for what’s here.

I will include supportive posts exclusively for subscribers tailored to where you are in the journey. These will help keep you focused and help you develop plans for getting yourself going and keeping at it.  Subscribe to gain access to those exclusive posts!

What’s MY motivation?

I need to keep exercise at the forefront of my mind, and I love sharing what I’ve found.  I want to partner with you  while we keep our focus on how amazing it is to have activity keep us feeling our best and looking to the future with hope and confidence!


Subscribe here to receive exclusive access to supportive posts and a free downloadable worksheet to track your progress!  Join me!

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