"The doctor of the future will give no medicine,
but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame,
in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease."
— Thomas Edison
We all know that one method to improve our health or lose weight is by increasing
our activity level. For some, this straightforward concept is easily adopted but
for others, it's not that simple. Finding the time, no one to watch the kids, being
out-of-shape to the point where we can't exercise, painful joints or muscles, it's
too much work: all reasons not to engage in an exercise program.
There are approximately 1,892 steps in a mile. 10,000 steps = about 5.25 miles.
To achieve better health, strive to take 10,000 steps per day. For weight loss purposes, work
up to 12,000-15,000 steps per day. Individual variance occurs depending on your step length.
Over 67% of the American adult population is overweight or obese. The obesity rate
of children is climbing exponentially. The majority of these individuals do not
engage in any kind of physical activity, which results in being not only "over-fat"
but also in poor cardio-vascular health-a double edge sword.
In an effort to get America moving, the American Diabetes Association has created
the 10,000 Step Program to engage individuals in the most fundamental movement necessary
for living-walking. Walking is something we can all do without the potentially detrimental
effects of more intense exercise programs: strained muscles, joint pain, and stressing the
cardio vascular system.
What are the benefits of a walking program?
A walking program will get your body moving. While walking is easier on the body, it can
be as beneficial as running to help lose body fat. A recent Duke University study, lead
by cardiologist Dr. William Kraus found that sedentary overweight men and women, while
walking or running for 30 minutes a day or 12 miles a week over an 8 month period, lost
both body fat and weight without changing their diet. The study also showed a clear
relationship between the amount and intensity of walking or jogging to the improvement
of health conditions such as diabetes, central obesity and high blood pressure. In this
case, more is better.
While not everyone is able to engage in an intense program, the premise is to just get
moving. Just 30 minutes per day, most days of the week is a good place to start.
30 minutes of walking at a pace of 5 miles per hour will burn approximately 285 calories.
If not able to complete 30 minutes of exercise, start with just a few steps per day and add
as you are able. Although the ADA's 10,000 steps per day program exceed the Surgeon General's
current guideline of 30 minutes of exercise 3 days per week, it's a good goal to set. 10,000
steps a day for one week will burn between 2,000 and 3,500 extra calories. The focus of a
walking program is to incrementally work towards adding additional steps through general daily
activity and planned walking sessions.
How do I monitor my progress?
Pedometers have been used by the Japanese for about 30 years to monitor our naturally active
lifestyles from centuries ago. The research community and now the public are beginning to
recognize the command these little instruments have on motivating individuals to increase
their activity level.
Pedometers are small, simple and economical devices used to monitor steps taken in a day.
They are attached at your waist and have an internal lever mechanism that detects the movement
at the hip and translates this into steps. Simply clip the pedometer to your waist or belt
first thing in the morning and walk away.
How many steps should I take per day?
The average person walks about 3,000-5,000 steps per day. The "first step" to increasing this
number is to determine how many steps you take on an average in 10 minutes while wearing your
Pedometer. Calculate this measurement for at least 5 days. Then multiply this number by 3-6
(30-60 minutes of activity) and determine how much you want to increase your walking program
per day. No need to shoot for your ultimate goal at first. You will be there soon enough.
In the beginning, set a preliminary goal that is about 2,500 steps above your current level.
Gradually work up to your goal by increasing the number of steps you take each day by 300-600.
Your Pedometer can be used as an indicator throughout the day to make sure you are on track.
The recipe for success:
Debbie Judd, RN
Share your walking program with a friend. Research indicates that a commitment to another,
along with the Power of Ritual will increase the likelihood of complying to your program-forever.
Show your Pedometer to others and ask if they would be interested in being involved in a healthier
lifestyle. Schedule walks during lunch breaks, walk your dog around the park, involve your children
in your program. Engage others in the gift of health. It's about moving your body and begins with
the first step.
Copyright © July 2005 Debbie Judd, RN and Low Carb Luxury