Be Active

10,000 steps – sometimes easier said than done

10000-Steps

If you’ve read my profile you’ll know how easy it is for something to get in the way of my leading a more active life than the one I have planned in my head.  So after achieving my 10,000 steps per day for a whole week just a short while back, my children were absented from school for 14 days(!) to enjoy a mid-term break and to allow the school to move premises.  This upset to what I would now like to call ‘my routine am walk’ led to a decline in the number of steps achieved to such an extent that I stopped wearing the pedometer altogether.  Midterms included a trip to Kent, a 5 day stay with a friend in Newcastle, heaps of kids, bottles of red wine, shared strawberry cheesecake, then lime cheesecake,  doritos and chocolate.  Thank goodness those boys are back to school because whoever was living in my head whilst I was away forgot all about the healthy lifestyle to which she aspires.  And having gotten out of the habit of wearing my pedometer I then forgot to clip it on first day back to school.  Never mind – it’s on now!  And we can only plan the future, not the past.

Planning

My planning for the future includes a commitment to my pedometer for 2 weeks this time.  I figure if I can achieve 10,000 daily steps for 1 week I can certainly achieve it for 2 – and I suspect you can also should you so wish. The school moving premises has in fact made this a whole lot easier.  I clocked 3,000 steps through my drop off, and another 3,000 with my pick up.  I am sitting at under 8,000 here at 4:30p.m. showing me the little movement that was achieved the rest of the day as I sat at my computer.  I figure if I add a detour after drop off in the am I can add another 1,000 steps in pretty easily.  Determined. Determined. Determined.  It’s just for 2 weeks, so we’ll see how I go.  Getting excited about it now.  Here I come with another star chart for myself.

Top tips for best pedometer usage

1. Wear your pedometer every day  – you know it makes sense.  You will capture a picture of how inactive/active you are day to day.

2. After your first week of clocking your steps calculate your average.  If not meeting your 10,000 steps quota for healthy living increase your current output by 1,000 steps per day for one week.

3. Draw out a chart and work yourself with time towards the 10,000 goal.  Don’t think about how long this will take – just think day by day, and week by week.  Then work yourself towards the big number.

4. Reward yourself at the end of each week with a non-food treat. Before you know it the summer will be here and you will be a walking machine – just like me in my head!

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Healthy Lifestyle

10,000 steps. These feet were made for walking.

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While breakfasting on Monday (Feb 4 2013) and listening to early morning radio I learned it was World Cancer Day.  As a dietitian I am always shall we say ‘harping on’ about the merits of being active, but sometimes statistics really sink in.  The expert discussing cancer prevention remarked ‘being active for just 30 minutes every day would  halve our risk of developing some of the most common cancers’.  Maybe because it was my birthday this week, and I was reminded when looking in the mirror that yes indeed I really was another year older I set myself a challenge.

10,000 Steps

Since Monday I have clipped on my pedometer each day and once I have dropped my kids to school, but before sinking into my work chair, I have headed to my local park.  One good circuit of brisk walking will tick my 30 minute target.  It’s Friday today and I am feeling good.  I have 5 stars on my chart.  One day I even found myself breaking into a run. That was a particularly cold day and my legs decided for me.  So my pedometer is clocking around 5,000 steps by 10am with another 5,000 by the end of the day.  The 10,000 steps per day programme, based on a Japanese proverb, has been explored and validated through research as a useful tool to get sedentary populations moving. Recent research has also validated the use of a pedometer as a useful way to get individuals to do more (Sports Medicine, 2009). Those using the pedometer walk more, have a lower weight to height ratio, and have lower blood pressure than those not using  pedometers in the research (JAMA, 2007). And as mentioned above, there’s the link to cancer prevention too.

Top Tips

  1. Buy a pedometer
  2. Track your steps on a chart or calendar.
  3. Find a walking partner or a set of headphones to keep you busy.
  4. Walk 30 minutes every day.
  5. Buy a good pair of trainers if you need to.
  6. Establish a routine to meet your 30 minute daily goal.

Get walking. Get Healthy.