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Walking 10,000 Steps a Day for Health

Friday, January 02, 2009

Over the past month I was focused on finishing my grades for my students. Unfortunately I worked long hours and did not find time for walking. I spent most of my time at the computer grading papers. It is a bad habit of mind to become so absorbed by my work that I don't take time to take care of me. Well I am getting back on track . . . it is hard to get all my steps in but I am working up to achieving 10,000 steps a day. Having some difficulty getting motivated to get all my steps in each day.

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I find myself asking "Why 10,000 steps? What is so magical about 10,000 steps anyway?

First . . . the benefits of walking are outstanding. It pays to get out and walk for good health. The Surgeon General's report, Physical Activity and Health, recommended "a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity of moderate intensity on most, if not all, days of the week." The benefits are greatly reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, and other maladies. Walkers have also been shown to live longer and live to a healthy, active old age in greater numbers than their couch potato friends.

Further, research shows adults who are physically active in their 50s and early 60s are about 35 percent less likely to die in the next eight years than those who are sedentary. For those who have a high heart risk because of diabetes, high blood pressure or smoking, the reduction is 45 percent. So if you need some motivation to walk, remember that walking improves your health and adds years to your life.

Second, a sedentary person may only average 1,000 to 3,000 steps a day. Just by wearing a pedometer I can see how drastic a few weeks of focusing on grading can impact my activity level. I went from averaging 10,000 steps to 5,000 steps a day. Ouch. I was really surprised to see how few steps I was achieving during the past few weeks. I have slipped back into my old sedentary ways.

So where do I go from here? What is my plan of action? What would be a reasonable goal for increasing my steps? A little research in a couple of my walking books and on SP and here is my goal and objectives:

Goal: Increase my daily average of steps each week by 500 per day until I achieve 10,000 steps each and every day!

Week 1 (Jan 2 to 8): 5,500 per day
Week 2 (Jan 9 to 15): 6,000 per day
Week 3 (Jan 23 to 29): 6,500 per day
Week 4 (Jan 30 to Feb 5): 7,000 per day
Week 5 (Feb 6 to 12): 7,500 per day
Week 6 (Feb 13 to 19): 8,000 per day
Week 7 (Feb 20 to 26): 8,500 per day
Week 8 (Feb 27 to Mar 5): 9,000 per day
Week 9 (Mar 6 to 12): 9,500 per day
Week 10 (Mar 13 to 19): 10,000 per day (Approximately 5 miles)

Perfect . . . This plan of action will ensure that I am prepared to walk many of the trails at Zion National Park over Spring Break. Last May when I went to Zion National Park I was in terrible shape and really could not manage to hike everyday. After hiking a couple of hours, I was exhausted and the next day I was stiff and in pain. Not this year. This plan of action will ensure that I will be in better shape, capable of hiking at least 5 miles of trails, and ENJOY IT!!!

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