The steps add up quickly – you’ll be surprised!
Those who walk at least 10,000 steps every day report improved mood, weight loss and more energy. Including simple physical activity like walking in your daily routine can be as effective as structured exercise in reducing body fat, cholesterol levels and risk of heart disease. Regular physical activity has many long-term benefits:
Today’s world relies on technology to do work. Many people relax by watching TV or playing on the computer. Less activity contributes to excess weight. Physical inactivity and excess weight both influence blood glucose levels.
Many people feel they do not have time to become physically active, that they must join a gym or go running every day. It is refreshing to know recent research shows that this is simply not so! You can get the health benefits associated with regular physical activity without ever going to a gym. Just start walking! It doesn’t take special equipment or membership in a club - it just takes a little imagination.
Realizing it’s not hard, feels great, and can be fun can give you extra motivation. Those 10,000 steps a day (the equivalent of walking roughly eight kilometres or five miles) can help you achieve good health. Though it sounds like a lot, the average person already walks about 3,000 to 5,000 steps a day. It’s amazing how quickly steps add up just going through your daily routine at home or work.
The latest research shows that 10,000 steps a day is about equal to the goal of 30 minutes of daily physical activity. A person who walks 10,000 steps a day will burn between 2,000 and 3,500 extra calories per week! Each step helps achieve better health, weight loss and a longer life.
Ten thousand is just a number, based on the assumption that most active people take at least 10,000 daily steps. Very active people take over 18,000 steps. Inactive people, who may be at risk for diabetes, take between 2,000 and 4,000.
The best thing about the 10,000 steps program is that it fits easily into most people’s lives. Walking is currently the most popular physical activity for adults in Canada. This lifestyle approach can be as effective as traditional fitness programs and the increased physical activity will give you health benefits.
Walking can be done anytime, anywhere. A pedometer is a useful tool that counts steps, helping monitor your daily activity level. Keeping track of your steps while wearing it can inspire you to move more on days when you are less active. Using a pedometer can remind you to walk whenever you can. You will know how much you usually walk in a day and how much more you need to do to reach your goal. Those 10,000 steps can improve your health and quality of life.
People using this method say that the pedometer gives meaning to their walking and helps them become more health conscious. Wearing a pedometer even motivates them to stop staying home and watching TV!
Getting started could not be easier. Your first step is to buy a pedometer. Your Safeway pharmacist can show you options ranging in cost from around $20 to $50. Over the years, the accuracy of pedometers has improved. Instead of measuring distance, they now measure the number of hip swings or heel strikes performed.
If you have heart disease, other chronic disease, or are overweight, check with your doctor before starting a new program of physical activity. You may need to start with a smaller goal than 10,000 steps each day.
To use a pedometer, attach it to your waist in an upright, vertical position on your hip, with the clip against your body. It is important to attach it so the unit is parallel to the ground and as level as possible. You can attach it to your belt, slacks, skirt, or underwear.Test the pedometer by pressing the reset button while the unit is attached to your waist. Walk several steps, keeping track of the number, then compare that number to what is displayed. You may have to adjust the pedometer by moving the dial or changing your stride length. Follow the instruction sheet included with your pedometer.
Put on your pedometer when you dress in the morning and leave it on until bedtime. It will record a step each time your hip moves up and down. It also measures things you do throughout your day in addition to walking, such as bending to tie your shoes, going up and down stairs, and getting up from your chair. That’s okay - the goal of the 10,000 steps program is for you to use more energy and burn more calories. Movement can be in forms other than walking.
Wear the pedometer for a week, doing your normal amount of activity. Record the total steps taken each day (see sample chart). At the end of the week, calculate your average steps per day. This is your baseline or starting point. From this, aim to add 500 steps in your day (3,500 steps a week) until the goal of 10,000 steps is reached. A reasonable way to increase your activity level would be to add a daily 10-minute walk (500 to 1000 steps). Record your progress using a chart like the sample or use your blood glucose log book.
|Baseline Steps||Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4||Week 5||Week 6||Week 7|
If you are already active, feel free to exceed the 10,000 mark. Just don’t overdo it. Likewise, if you are quite inactive, take it slowly. An increase of 250 steps per day might be more realistic. Let how you are feeling guide you.
The goal is to walk 10,000 steps a day. This extra activity will give your body a boost beyond its baseline for good health and help you better manage your diabetes.