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Sonoma Family Life Magazine

10,000 Steps To Fitness!

Dec 26, 2007 12:00AM

Are you walking 10,000 steps per day?

The goal of taking 10,000 steps in a day is a rough equivalent to the Surgeon General’s recommendation to accumulate 30 minutes of activity most days of the week. It can help reduce your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers and help you lead a longer, healthier life.

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.

How to Get Started

Get on the road to good health by walking 10,000 steps every day. The directions for getting there couldn’t be any simpler. Here’s all you need:

  • A pedometer.
  • Comfortable sneakers and shoes.
  • Comfortable clothes.
  • A logbook.
  • A reliable list of walking buddies as an extra incentive.

And that’s it. Exercise doesn’t have to mean joining an expensive gym, getting sweaty and breathing hard. Any kind of movement such as doing the laundry and walking to your co-worker’s cubicle can help on the road to a strong heart and a healthy weight.

Ready to strap on a pedometer and give it a try?

A good model will set you back anywhere from $10 to $25. A no-frills pedometer is quite accurate if worn for walking. You’ll get the best results if you keep the pedometer in line with what would be the crease line on a pair of trousers. But watch out: pedometers tend to overestimate how much exercise you get while cleaning the house.

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. How many steps do I need? Here are some rough targets:

  • For long term health and reduced chronic disease risk: 10,000 steps/day.
  • For successful, sustained weight loss: 12,000–15,000 steps/day.
  • To build aerobic fitness: Make 3,000 or more of your daily steps fast.

How do I increase my daily steps?

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

  • Take a walk with your family.
  • Walk the dog.
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Park farther from the store, or better yet, walk to the store.
  • Get up to change the channel.
  • Socialize with friends while walking or window shopping.
  • Walk around your office instead of calling your co-workers.
  • 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, and you’ll be on your way to healthier living!

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