Saturday, December 19, 2009

Fitness for lazy and frugal, cont. Walking with pedometer. 10,000 STEPS A DAY

Hi there!

It's me Svetlana.

Remember we said that to stay in great physical shape and to be a habitual exerciser does not mean that you have to run marathons or pump iron daily. To stick with exercise program for life, one has to chose exercise which is:
1. Affordable.
2. Relatively easy.
3. Practical for every day (unlike rock climbing or scuba diving).
4. Does not need expensive or complicated equipment.
5. Does not produce stress on the body and cause damage in a long run (like joint arthritis, ligaments wear and tear, disk herniation, etc.).
6. Enjoyable!!!

Personally I think that walking is the exercise that meets all of the above requirements. Just because it's so easy, it's also enjoyable. Walking does not need any equipment besides a good pair of walking shoes (worth every penny spent on them!), it can be done every day (just get out of the door). If you never exercised before, start low and go slow, don't push at first, and in no time you will notice you crave your little walk and want to do more if it. When you start taking your walks more frequently and enjoy them, take it a notch higher. Increase duration, intensity, or both. In no time you will become a habitual exerciser, and  identify yourself as one. Congratulations, you just made a 180 degree turn from an unhealthy, overweigh, sedentary  person to energetic, slender, happy you for the rest of your life. You are doing this for YOU. JUST BECAUSE YOU DESERVE IT.

Now you are a walker. Don't you want to do it right?
How many steps do you walk each day?

Maybe you have heard the recent guidelines about walking 10,000 steps per day. How far is 10,000 steps anyway? The average person's stride length is approximately 2.5 feet long. That means it takes just over 2,000 steps to walk one mile, and 10,000 steps is close to 5 miles.

A sedentary person may only average 1,000 to 3,000 steps a day. For these people adding steps has many health benefits.

A reasonable goal for most people is to increase average daily steps each week by 500 per day until you can easily average 10,000 per day. Example: If you currently average 3000 steps each day, your goal for week one is 3500 each day. Your week 2 goal is 4000 each day. Continue to increase each week and you should be averaging 10,000 steps by the end of 14 weeks.

Wearing a pedometer is an easy way to track your steps each day. Start by wearing the pedometer every day for one week. Put it on when you get up in the morning and wear it until bed time. Record your daily steps in a log or notebook. By the end of the week you will know your average daily steps. You might be surprised how many (or how few) steps you get in each day.

There are many ways to increase your daily steps. Use your imagination and come up with your own list:

Take a walk with your spouse, child, or friend

Walk the dog

Use the stairs instead of the elevator

Park farther from the store

Better yet, walk to the store

Get up to change the channel

Window shop

Plan a walking meeting

Walk over to visit a neighbor

Get outside to walk around the garden or do a little weeding

Continue to track your daily steps and/or mileage; and keep notes on how you feel, how your body is improving, or other changes you are making to improve your health.

If you are in very poor physical condition or at any point you feel that you are progressing too rapidly slow down a bit and try smaller increases. If you have any health concerns seek your physician's advice prior to starting or changing your exercise routine.

I wear my pedometer every day, starting with my morning walk routine ( 50-60 minutes during which I log about 6,500- 7,000 steps) and following with the rest of the day (adding another 6,000 or so steps). This way I know I have completed my daily requirements.

Recommended reading:

Pedometer Walking: Stepping Your Way to Health, Weight Loss, and Fitness by Mark Fenton and David R. Bassett Jr. (Paperback - Jan 1, 2006)

10,000 Steps a Day to Your Optimal Weight: Walk Your Way to Better Health by Greg Isaacs (Paperback - Oct 2, 2006).

So long.


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