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?