Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Healthy Habits in 2013 - Wear a Pedometer

We all think we're active - and many of us are to a certain extent.  But one of the most humbling things I ever did was strap on a pedometer. Yikes.

Habit #5: Wear a Pedometer

Honestly, I did this several years ago when I wasn't able to attend my beloved Jazzercise a whole lot and it was a shock.  Yes, a real, honest to goodness shock! 

Experts recommend that we get approximately 10,000 steps per day. I was averaging somewhere around 1000.  No, I'm not missing a zero.   A mere 1/10 of what I should be getting.

Not surprisingly, most of us are in that boat, especially if we have a job or a lifestyle where we sit quite a bit, at a desk or on the couch or behind a sewing machine or whatever. 

I thought I was active:  I walked 6 blocks each way from the parking lot to my office, I pottered around in my garden, occasionally I walked to the grocery store.  I turns out I sat a lot more than I thought!

Walking is without fail the easiest way to improve your health.  Strapping on a pedometer is both humbling and encouraging.  

It's humbling because we're almost always at a far lower count than we'd like to be.  

It's encouraging because it's very easy to track improvement.

Honestly, one of the easiest things you can do for your health is to wear that pedometer daily and try to beat your total number of steps per day by certain minimum of steps per day.  What I've seen work well is between 10 and 100 steps.  More than that can be daunting and is difficult to do in your house before bed at night when you look at your pedometer and say "Rats. I need X number of steps to meet my goal today!"  

It's such an easy way to meet our health goals - our bodies are made to move (yes, even yours!) and getting moving has so many health benefits.  And unlike running, there's no intimidation factor in walking for most of us. Most of us know to do it properly and have the equipment to do it.  You don't have to race or complete, just try to beat your daily total.

Me? I'm working on adding 50 steps per day to my current total with a goal of reaching my recommended 10,000 steps per day by the time Christmas rolls around.  Care to join me?

I'm going to follow up next week with a few comments on an important piece of this part of the puzzle - shoes!

What are you doing to walk more in your daily life? I'd love to hear!

Note: I am not a doctor and I don't play one on TV.  This article and others in this series are not intended to be medical advice but to simply share things that I have found helpful in creating healthy habits in my life.  Please consult a qualified medical professional about concerns you have for your particular lifestyle and needs. Thanks.

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Lea