Step it Up


 A new research study came out this week that highlights Americans as taking significantly less steps per day than other countries.  For a nation where 63% of its inhabitants are overweight, is this really a surprise to anyone?  I will add one concern to this study.  It only profiled 1136 Americans.  That seems like a pretty low number to base comprehensive study results on, but it still is a good opportunity to talk about getting people walking.

I wondered how many people know how many steps they take per day.  I own a pedometer and have a pretty good idea of my average number steps on days where I don’t consciously exercise and the average number of steps I walk or run.  Another opportunity that many people are not taking advantage of is company –sponsored step challenges.  My friend’s company started these years ago.  Employees who wanted to participate received a pedometer.  They recorded their daily steps over a determined period of time and winners got prizes.  My husband’s company did the same thing 2 years ago, and finally, my company started it too.  We use www.virginhealthmiles.com, and our pedometers have a USB connection that uploads our steps so no cheating is involved.  Working for a company with more than 100,000 geographically-disperse employees can make these challenges less motivating because you don’t know your competition.  What I like about the website is you also have the ability to create your own challenge.  Currently, I have a challenge in progress.  12 of my immediate co-workers are involved.  It’s full of trash-talking, bragging, and other motivational language to get us all moving.  Who doesn’t like that competition?

 Back to the statistics….on average Americans take ~5000 steps a day.  Why is this so concerning?  Well, I’m  sure that many of you already know that we should be taking 10,000 steps a day to support optimum health.  10,000 steps equal about 5 miles.  If you are like me and you drive to and from work and sit a desk all day, walking 5 miles a day just doing what you have to do is nearly impossible.   To walk 10,000 steps a day, you actually need to exercise.  You don’t need a hard workout.  You don’t need to go to the gym.  You just need to walk.  Walk with your dog, your husband, your child.  Better yet, walk with your iPod and set your own pace.  If you feel inspired, spend the $10 and buy a pedometer.  Challenge yourself to walk 10,000 steps a day.  You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel just by walking.

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