One step at a time

by • September 17, 2013 • FitnessComments (0)244

Keep moving with a daily goal of 10,000 steps

Have you ever watched kids at play? Try to keep up with them. They are constantly moving and so engaged in play they don’t realize they are exercising. Up the slide, down the slide, over to the monkey bars, following their friends balance walking along the edging of the sand box, etc.  For most of us, general activity decreases as we move into adulthood.

Walking your dog is an easy way to rack up steps towar the daily 10,000. Courtesy The Alaska Club

Walking your dog is an easy way to rack up steps toward the daily 10,000. Courtesy The Alaska Club

Many of us spend our workday in front of a computer or sitting in meetings. We’ve all heard ideas to insert more activity into our day – park farther away from the door; use the stairs rather than the elevator or escalator; do a lap around the office after lunch. But knowing what we could, or should, do is not always enough to make it happen.

How do you get motivated to get more activity?

First, we need to know our current activity level. Then we can determine how much we should be getting and how to get there.

Logging is an amazingly effective tool. You can learn how many steps or calories you’re burning each day with your regular activities (gardening, vacuuming, walking the dog, etc.). There are several websites that are free and allow you to log and track your activity – www.fitday.com, www.fitbit.com and www.dailyburn.com are just a few.

The tool I’ve found that motivates the most people to move more is a simple pedometer. It provides instant feedback on how you’re moving that day. You know, what gets measured gets monitored. So, measure, monitor and be motivated to move.

When you look at the total number of steps you’ve taken, you know the only way to earn more steps is to get moving. For me, I’m more likely to walk down the street to get the mail, I’m happy to take the dog for a walk, and my carpet looks amazing because it is getting vacuumed more often, in order to reach my goal.  It seems silly, but it absolutely works.

What is the goal for steps per day?  Well, in general, that number is 10,000, which is the equivalent of about 5 miles per day.  Before you decide that’s too much, the real goal is to get more steps per day. So if your regular day is 2,000 steps (about 1 mile), then strive for 3,000 instead.  When that becomes your norm, strive for 4,000 steps and so on.

If you get extra excited about gadgets, I also like the Fitbit activity tracker. No, I’m not a paid sponsor or stockholder. I am all for anything that motivates people to move, and the Fitbit has great tools.  It will show you steps, miles per day, give you positive encouragement with quick sayings like “good job,” “hugs” or “please move me” (when it’s been sitting still for too long). In addition, when you sync your Fitbit to the website, you’ll see reports and receive emails with your weekly summary.

Do you need a pedometer or fancy tool or website to be fit, active and healthy?  Of course not. We simply need to move and be active. It is helpful to have tools that help us see where we are currently and motivates to get where we want to be.

So, move more.  Simple, right?  It is – when you take it one step at a time.

 

Janet Warner is general manager of Fitness Services at The Alaska Club.

 

Action plan

• Measure current activity.

• Set goal for activity level increase.

• Identify the behaviors that will get you there (i.e. taking the stairs, walking the dog, etc.)

• Find tools that work for you (pedometer, websites, etc.)

• Tell a friend or family member. It becomes real when you say it out loud.  Plus, that might be the motivation someone else needs to join you in the quest for more movement.

• One day of inactivity does not mean the attempt is done. Get back on the plan.

 

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