Food & Fitness

Walk and Get Fit

For months, I have faithfully worn my pedometer every day, no matter where I’m going. When I went to Texas in August, however, I didn’t bother bringing along my pedometer. Upon my return home, I didn’t feel any great urge to put it back on. For the past month or two, it has been sitting quietly in a drawer in my desk. We’re both okay with that. We just needed some space. These things happen in the best of relationships.

But now I think I’ll be bringing it out once again, and that is to celebrate a new Walk Around the World in 31 Days challenge conducted by Fitness Magazine! Although it is an American challenge and thus one needs to have an American zip code to enter, I still enjoy wearing a pedometer on a daily basis to track my steps, and I think my pedometer and I are ready to be reacquainted. I really love the notion of the Walk Around the World challenge, especially because one of my ultimate life goals is to literally walk around the world (anyone want to sponsor me to do that? That would be the best experience ever).

Health experts advise us to accumulate about 10,000 steps over the course of the day, but I choose to think of that as the absolute minimum. I prefer thinking of 12,000 steps as my usual base, with about 15,000 as my goal. This is actually pretty easy to do. If I walk to and from work in the morning, and to and from class in the afternoon, that’s about 21,000 steps right there, not including other “lifestyle” steps. If you use your legs for transportation instead of a car, you will have no problem at all with achieving the 10,000 (or 12,000, or 15,000…)-step goal.

I have found that if I go for just a 45 minute walk during the day, I can easily manage 12,000 steps in total (once the steps of walking around the house etc are all included). Depending on how active your everyday lifestyle is- going up and down stairs, moving around at work, or if you live in a house rather than an apartment- you might need to only go for a 30 minute walk or perhaps need to walk for closer to an hour to meet the 12,000 step daily goal. Remember, that 30 minutes can be broken down into 10 minute increments. It’s easy to squeeze in a couple of ten-minute walks throughout the day!


One of the main reasons I stopped wearing a pedometer is because I’ve been riding my bike so much more frequently than going out for walks. The equivalent of about 7,000 steps of walking only matches up to a couple thousand “steps” if you’re on the bike. It’s the same distance, but you’re going so fast that the pedometer doesn’t realize you’re on a bike instead of on your two feet (much as I love the little gadget, it’s not always the brightest tool). Personally I get a little disheartened when I expect the number to be about 5,000 steps more than it shows.

Walking is one of the best exercises you can possibly do. Among other things, walking lowers blood pressure, reduces body fat, improves mood, helps to prevent osteoporosis, and increases flexibility. Walking is also perfect for strengthening and toning up the whole body. If you have difficulty with performing squats, lunges, or any kind of core exercise, start a good walking program and in a couple weeks try out those body weight exercises once more. You’ll be amazed at the difference that walking can do to improve your technique and endurance.

Walking is an enjoyable activity that anyone and everyone can do! How will you incorporate walking into your day today?


  1. The Candid RD

    We had to wear pedometers last year for about 2 months for a contest in our office. I walked about 10,000-14,000 steps a day, and Nick (who doesn’t even workout) easily got about 15,000 per day since he works in food service! Therefore, I can’t get on him about not working out, he’s always on the move!

    Great post, walking really IS one of the best, if not THE best ways to workout.

  2. Dr. J

    I like it!! Walking is a great way to be active, and I encourage it frequently! It’s very common for me, when I have free time at work, to just take a walk around the medical center, especially getting outside.

  3. the Bag Lady

    I wore a pedometer when I started working, but I dropped it and broke it *sob* and haven’t replaced it yet. BUT I discovered that I walked about 3 miles per day at work. And I’ve lost almost 10 lbs since I started working. Yahoo for walking!!

  4. Sagan Morrow

    Lance- it’s really amazing how much temperature can affect our activity levels.

    South Beach Steve- mine too! It’s the perfect exercise.

    Gina- haha, depending on our lifestyles, some people can get away with never needing to go to the gym to keep in shape!

    Dr. J- walking is also so good for relaxing in a hectic day.

    Charlotte- walking is love.

    Bag Lady- wow! That’s impressive. I love how something which seems so simple can do so much for our bodies. Can we make you a poster girl for walking? 😀

  5. Jolene

    I adore walking walking. It is my first go-to exercise. In fact I was all ready to go this morning but it’s so foggy and cold that I’m going wait until this afternoon. Hopefully the ever faithful Colorado sun will burn through the clouds today and I’ll get a nice 3-mile walk in after work today.

  6. Maggie

    I love your posts about walking!! It’s still the only exercise that I have consistently been able to do every day. I mean, I do yoga a lot, but sometimes my brain is just going too fast for yoga – when that happens, walking is perfect.

    I actually have a pedometer but I’ve never worn it! I will have to set it up.

  7. Andrea@WellnessNotes

    I enjoy walking and walk as much as I can. I can’t walk to work, but I always park as far away as I can. I also used to go on very brisk hour-long walks every day when the toddler still loved his stroller. Now the toddler and I go on VERY slooooow walks since the toddler walks, picks up things, sits down… 🙂

    I don’t have a pedometer, but I think I should get one just to see how many steps I’m taking and to challenge myself a bit more…

  8. Mary Anne in Kentucky

    Mark Fenton & David R. Bassett, Jr., Pedometer walking. They say if you clip your pedometer to your sock, it will count your cycling as steps more accurately.

    I would actually join this challenge if both my pedometers hadn’t stopped working. I got a new battery for one of them, and then found that its readout was no longer legible. The other one has a non-replaceable battery. Too discouraging. (I still walk, though!)

  9. Sagan Morrow

    Jolene- hope the walk worked out for you!

    Maggie- I’m, um, kind of obsessed with the joys of walking 😀 And I agree that sometimes the brain “goes too fast” for yoga.

    Andrea- pedometers are fun to try out just for a day or two to get some idea of how many steps you take in an average day. It’s such a great healthy tool! The little things like parking far away from the entrance to a building really add up.

    Michelle- I could see myself borrowing a car to drive more often if the other drivers on the road didn’t irritate me so much 😉

    Mary Anne- now THAT is an interesting idea! I’m going to try that and see if it makes a difference. That must be frustrating about your pedometers dying on you. And I can’t imagine you NOT walking, Mary Anne!

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