Steps to Good Health

Pedometer omron HJ-112 user review

Image via Wikipedia

Let’s face it, trying to get in our daily exercise while also conforming to everyone’s schedule is difficult if not impossible at times. We would love to start our day by running five miles, followed by an hour of weight training, then another 30 minutes of stretching exercises and cool down. Such a schedule touted by the authors of Younger Next Year, will keep us living into our 70’s, 80’s or 90’s while remaining vibrant, virile and vigorous.

For the rest of us mere mortals we need something we can do everyday, when it’s convenient and not necessarily requiring us to throw on workout attire or find a shower afterwards. Walking seems to fit the bill quite nicely. To get the most health benefits (as recommended by the Surgeon General) we should walk 10,000 steps daily, giving us the equivalent of walking about five miles. Apparently the Japanese have adopted this healthy lifestyle for the past 40 years possibly accounting for their lower overall mortality compared to those of us in the U.S.

Now, we might be thinking, “Okay now I have to get up and walk five miles each day, where do I get the time?” Fortunately, if we’re moving about during our day we can actually manage to get this in by incremental steps. And tracking our steps is easy with an inexpensive device called a pedometer. This small device, slipped into our pocket or worn on a belt, accurately measures each step we take. One model I like a lot is from Omron and it will even allow us to download our steps for easy tracking by computer. Surprisingly, walking around the supermarket or malls while shopping may generate 2,000 steps quite easily. Sneaking a glance at our pedometer during the day gives us a quick tally and prompts us to look for other opportunities to acquire the full 10,000 steps.

It can become a fun game as we learn how many steps we can generate by parking farther away from the office or store. It’s amazing how taking the stairs can add steps to the daily total and give our heart a little workout as well. You can challenge your fellow friends or employees to see who gets the most steps in by the end of the day. Walking our four-legged family members at the beginning or end of the day not only earns us a friend but adds to our goal. Isn’t it great when taking small steps each day can ultimately lead us to better health?

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About Steve P. Sanders

A general internist writing and sharing ideas and art.

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