5×500 – Adding an extra zero
The 5×50 challenge inspired me to even out my exercise routine and take some exercise every day. I’ve always been into sport and exercise, but it took 5×50 to make me realise that I was having too many days when I didn’t exercise. As I’ve grown older those passive days were leading to more niggling injuries because, when I exercise, I really go for it. Four days of inactivity followed by a long run or big day on the mountain were leaving my body susceptible to injury.
5×50 got me thinking about how often I exercise and led to me setting some personal targets. At the start of 2013 I set out to walk, run, cycle, ski, kayak or canoe at least 5 kilometres on 300 days in the year. I missed a few days in January, February and early March, but I was on target for 300 days in the year. By mid-March I found I was automatically building a self-propelled journey into my daily routine and began to think I could just keep going and not miss a day. On March 18th this year I went for a run and completed my 365th consecutive day of actively travelling at least 5 kilometres.
On Thursday (31st) this week I will pass the 500 days mark. I didn’t realise when I missed a day on March 18th last year and then went for a walk on the 19th that I would be celebrating my 500th consecutive day of exercise by walking to and from the Commonwealth Games athletics at Hampden Park.
That coincidence of reaching my milestone on a day when I go to see the athletics has made me think about the legacy from the Games. There has been a lot of debate about legacy in connection with London 2012 and Glasgow 2014 and whether the two Games will make a long-term difference to the health of the nation.
The 2012 Olympics and 2014 Commonwealth Games have been thoroughly enjoyed in our house, but in terms of legacy I wonder if there has been one crucial difference. Listening to the debate on TV and radio I got the feeling, rightly or wrongly, that the focus of attention for London 2012 was weighted towards getting young people into Olympic sports, whereas with Glasgow 2014 it feels a lot broader than that. The legacy aspect of Glasgow 2014 appears to be aimed more at getting all people into all forms of recreation. That includes encouraging young people to take up competitive sports and maybe get onto the conveyor belt to the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, but it also includes getting people of all ages to simply take more exercise.
If my interpretation of the Glasgow 2014 legacy is correct, then I would say that it is entirely consistent with the 5×50 message of whoever you are and however much exercise you currently take, exercise more and you are likely to feel the benefits.
Through my work I have been involved in the development of the Glasgow to Edinburgh Canoe Trail (G2E) which is very much aimed at encouraging people living close to the Forth & Clyde and Union Canals to take to the water and use them for recreation. I have also advised businesses on participating in the Ramblers Scotland Medal Routes initiative. These are just two of the many impressive projects that are being promoted in Scotland as part of the sporting legacy from Glasgow 2014.
So, whether it is taking inspiration from watching top class athletes competing, or making the most of the opportunities provided by new facilities and routes, or reading about the achievements of others on the 5×50 blogs page, there has never been a better time to increase your amount of exercise and improve your general health and fitness levels.
You don’t have to run 5,000 metres or exercise on 500 consective days. Walking 2 kilometres a day on 4 days a week is a perfectly good target for some people. It’s all about setting a personal challenge that gets you exercising more than you have in the past. If something in 2014 inspires you to exercise more then that is part of Legacy 2014.
This article was originally written for the 5×50 blog.