Stepping it up

It is no secret that I am trying to get healthy. Unfortunately my dedication to exercise and healthy eating comes in fits and starts. The one thing that I try to do each and every day is to walk at least 10,000 steps.

I have a fancy pedometer that measures my steps, miles walked, flights of stairs climbed and even how many calories I burn. But you really just need a cheap little $7 department store pedometer to help you track steps.

Why 10,000? The American Heart Association says this is the number of steps we need in a day to improve health and reduce our risk of heart disease. Given my family medical history, I need all the help I can get in this area.

So I try not to ever go to bed without logging at least this amount and on days of devotion to my healthy lifestyle it isn’t uncommon to have 15,000 or more. Problem is that my job keeps me tied to a desk, meeting table or steering wheel for much of the day. So I always look for excuses to get up and move or to walk a little further than necessary. Here are a few suggestions that work for me:

  • Park at least twice as far from the door as you normally would. At the mall, work, the library….wherever you go go, don’t park at the front door. I park more than a block from my office most days and enjoy a nice walk before I start the day.
  • Make housework count as exercise. Folding towels doesn’t take much skill or concentration. March in place while you fold. Take an indirect route to the next room or pace while you dry dishes. My favorite? Sweep or vacuum the floors! That’s a lot of extra steps at my house.
  • Like household chores, yard work is a great way to get in extra steps and make your home look nice.
  • Walk the perimeter of your yard on the way to the mailbox.
  • I don’t have kids but if I did we would play outside every day the weather was good! Go to the park, play tag, just move with them. You are helping yourself and promoting active living for them!
  • Along those lines, I don’t have a dog but my parents do so I borrow their dog for a walk every day.
  • Never, ever take the the elevator when there are stairs!
  • If all else fails, march in place while you watch tv.

I also try to fit in at least a walk every evening. Sometimes just a mile, sometimes two, depending on time and weather. It sounds like a lot but walking makes me feel better physically and helps to clear my mind. Follow these tips and you’ll be cruising past that 10,000 mark before you know it!