Tuesday, June 1, 2010

10,000 steps

Just about every wellness program known seems to include some sort of a provision for walking. Most of them have settled on the idea that 10,000 steps is about enough to get you on the road to good health habits. Now I know from experience, that number seems totally unachievable especially if you sit around all day at a computer. But happily I am here to tell you that it takes only surprisingly LITTLE extra effort to achieve this goal and feel a little better about your personal health.

Now before you accuse me of trying to kill you, I know all the books say check with the doctor before starting any new exercise program. But hey folks, I am talking about WALKING here not digging ditches or chasing kites in storms. Call your mom, Rabbi, or that freckled kid who packs your bags at the supermarket – all of them will tell you that a little walking never hurt anyone. Anyway, you have to trust me on this, it is considered poor blogging etiquette to kill off your readers unless it is through boredom – then that’s actually quite normal.

So assuming you’re still alive and are willing to up your health ante a tad, probably the easiest part of doing 10,000 steps is to do NOTHING DIFFERENT for the first few days. Grab your pedometer and record how many steps your normal routine consists of currently. You will probably be surprised because even sedentary people tend to walk 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day. Now mind you half of that is back and forth between the refrigerator, but let’s think positive and realize that you are already well on your way! My normal routine was just under 5000 steps per day. Now it did and DOES take effort to double my activity rate daily. But oddly, a trip to the market here, or a window shopping mall excursion in the afternoon – it is amazing how fast the steps build up.

The goal is to INCREASE your activity so don’t beat yourself up if you never reach 10,000 steps consistently – do things that interest and motivate you first and then slowly incorporate more movement and walking in your normal routine. By working in the garage with my wife over the weekend, I generated more than 1200 steps in less than an hour. Remember, most of that is just puttering and organizing things – it’s fun, not stressful work or evil exercise. Seek out walking ‘missions’ that you and your family can do together. We sometimes pick berries off a beaten path at the park, or other times we may just take a quickie hike around the neighborhood. Whatever the minor goal, it is better than just sitting around and staring at a computer screens all day. Hmmm but what if I walked BETWEEN computer screens all day? Wow this 10,000 steps dealy is easier to achieve than I thought!

1 comment:

  1. Good idea, that 10,000 steps.
    I only total 5000 myself. But after reading
    your blog I plan to double it.
    Yep, From now I'm taking steps that are only
    HALF-Size from now on!
    Thanks, Dr. PJ !!!