Walking is one of the easiest activities you can do. In fact, you do it from the time you get up in the morning, to the time you go to bed. You probably have heard that 10,000 steps per day is recommended. In actuality, the Center For Disease Control recommends 7,000 steps per day. Walking is a great way to get and stay fit. So, why not count your steps, it counts as part of your physical activity. Invest in a pedometer. Pedometers are generally inexpensive, ranging from $5 to $10. Higher end pedometers, with more features can cost upwards of $50 or more. You don’t have to get fancy with it, but if you want a more advanced activity tracker, you can invest from a variety of wrist devices such as the Fitbit or Jawbone. These bands not only track your steps, but they can track your heart rate, calories and sleep too. Lastly, your smartphone is getting smarter. Most smartphones have built-in apps that can track your steps and heart rate among other things.
Here are some ways you can increase your steps:
- Park at the end of the parking lot.
- Take the stairs and ignore the elevator; you might get stuck in it anyway.
- Take a walk during your lunch break. You will benefit from the fresh air and sun. Also, it can ease the burden of a stressful day.
- Take a walk after dinner. It may be a great time to socialize with your neighbors. Also, you will burn those calories eaten at dinner.
- If you are at work and you need a boost, instead of snacking or drinking coffee, take a walk. This way you eliminate unnecessary calories; you probably weren’t hungry anyway.
- Start a walking club with your coworkers, friends or neighbors. They can help keep you accountable.
- If you commute by bus or train to get home, stop one or two stops before your final destination.
Doc, how many calories can I burn?
How many calories you burn depends on several variables. Your weight, height, sex and level of intensity will impact how many calories you burn. On average, you can burn one calorie for every 20 steps. The American Council on Exercise estimates that the average person can burn up to 3,500 calories per week walking 10,000 steps per day. 3,500 calories equals 1 pound! If you perform another exercise, such as attending a 60 minute kickboxing class, you have just upped your calorie burn even more! Also, keep in mind the following:
- Less than 2,500 steps = VERY INACTIVE
- 5,000 steps = INACTIVE
- 5,000 to 7,500 steps = MODERATELY ACTIVE
- 7,501 to 10,000 steps = ACTIVE
- More than 10,000 steps = VERY ACTIVE
Set Your Walking Goal
You need to know your starting point, thus wear your pedometer on Day One and log how many steps you make. Now that you know your baseline, every week aim to increase your steps by 100 or more steps. If you wish and you can tolerate it, you can increase your steps by more than 100.
Know how active you are by wearing your pedometer everyday. It’s the only way you will know how active you are. It can help keep you motivated and accountable. On this “Move It Monday” edition, start counting your steps, and make it count.