River + Fir

(My) Fitness Fundamentals #2: 10,000

First of all, read my disclaimer – ’cause that’s truth.

Second, I’ve been rocking on water drinking. Apparently that’s what I’m good at right now – need to get the ball rolling on some other stuff.

And here we land: 10,000 steps a day!

So easy, right?

Here’s the reason walking is good – it’s a great activity that you can do with almost no gear, anytime, anywhere. It’s good for your heart. It’s a great way to help with weight loss or to maintain a healthy weight. It’s a good start to an overall, more active lifestyle. You can make walking a social event or a peaceful meditation. It really is a catalyst for a more active, healthy and balanced life. (Both the American Heart Association and the Mayo Clinic websites have some nice overviews and some wonderful links to other health related topics.)

There’s lots of advice out there on how much walking should be a daily goal. A good place to start is to talk with your health care provider – find one you love and who will work with you and where you are at. However, when I’ve done this at different times in my life, mine were not ever very helpful, as in none of them have ever given me a specific goal; I had to figure that number on my own. I found that for me, ten thousand steps a day is the goal. When establishing this goal, I started by tracking my steps for two weeks – just living life, no judgment, just documenting my total steps each day and how I felt energy-wise. Then I looked at those numbers and started making some plans on how to increase my total steps and my general activity and, I hoped, my overall energy.  It’s worked for me in the past and away I go again.

Truth: I work a wholly sedentary job – eight hours, almost no movement; I’m lucky to walk two thousand steps during an eight hour shift, usually averaging around sixteen hundred. That leaves a whole lot of make up to do the other sixteen hours of my day, and I get how hard it can be to make this happen especially during the winter and the rain and the gloom. But let’s give it a whirl, shall we?

First of all you have to be able to track those pesky steps. Go get a pedometer or some sort of other tracking device. They can range from ten bucks to a hundred. For me the most important function is that they clip somewhere rather inconspicuously – but that’s just me. Some will slip in a pocket, some on a wrist or armband, some clip to a belt or waistband. Think about what you think you’ll actually wear and go get it. My favorite pedometer of all time was not very stealthy – I found it at my local shoe store and it was bright pink for a breast cancer fundraiser – that thing was with me for three years and I loved it until it finally died. (In hindsight, I probably should have bought new batteries for it and seen if it would come back to play, but at the time, I’d felt I’d more than gotten my twenty bucks out of it.)

Whatever you end up with, clip it on and start logging those steps each day. After a couple weeks, take a look and evaluate your average steps and set a goal. You found you were only walking an average of 3,000 steps a day? That’s okay! Set your goal to be 5,000 and add a fifteen or thirty minute walk into your day and see what happens to those numbers (and to how you’re feeling). After a couple weeks, add another thousand or so. Don’t get overwhelmed, break it down, take a lap around the block and watch those numbers grow. (This sorta links in with (My) Fitness Fundamental #5: Be Active. I find that when I’m hitting my goal of 10,000, my overall activity goes up as well. But more on that later.)

Like I stated before, walking is a low equipment activity, but you may need to find a good pair of shoes – but start with what you have and watch for soreness or pain and address this immediately. And start saving for a fun new pair of shoes – ’cause keep this up and you’re going to need ’em!

Now, walk! Around the living room, on a treadmill. Take an extra lap around the block or hit your favorite trail or path. Go downtown in the evening and window shop. Park farther away at the grocery store, take an extra pass (or two) through the mall. Make that dog walk two blocks longer before you turn around. Ask a friend or co-worker if they’d meet you for a half hour walk once a week – and then find two other people for two other nights. Find some new trails to explore. Go walk on your break. Load up your iPod with good tunes or some new podcasts or an audiobook. Borrow your neighbor’s dog. Can you add a walking leg to your daily commute? Know someone that has kids in strollers – great walking (and chatting) buddies. Get a pedometer competition going with your significant other or roommate (this is hilarious, trust me, and if you’re lucky like me to be shorter than your competition, you’ll have a leg up). Get creative and get walking!

I’d wish us all good luck – but it’s not luck – it’s action. Let’s do it! Spring is here! I have a daffodil bud that is just about to bloom and that means longer days and more time to enjoy this beautiful grey mess of a world out there – ’cause let’s be honest, March is lighter but severely damp.

Let me know if you’re going to join me on the steps per day goal! Can’t wait to hear how everyone gets after this! Let’s rock it!

This entry was published on March 2, 2013 at 5:05 pm. It’s filed under Active and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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