Here at RichmondSavers.com we feel that physical health is an essential part of a balanced life, and with the crazy cost of health care in this country, it really is as important a financial issue as nearly anything else we deal with here.
In countless newspapers and magazines over the past few years I’ve seen the stat that you need to walk approximately 10,000 steps a day in order to improve your fitness to what’s considered a healthy level. That’s all well and good in theory, but I always wondered what 10,000 steps actually equated to in terms of miles and how many steps I was already taking in a normal day.
Instead of just continuing to ignore these articles, I went out and bought myself a Fitbit brand pedometer (click here to purchase at Amazon.com) to track my steps and the number of flights of stairs I climb each day. It was a little bit pricey at $99 (as of the writing of this article, it’s nearly 20% less than that now) as compared with some other models, but it got great reviews in Men’s Health and Time and I liked the functionality built-in, so I took the plunge in June 2012.
I just passed my one year Fitbit ownership anniversary and this little gadget really has changed my life. Over the first 365 days of owning it I’ve worn it every single day and I’ve averaged over 10,300 steps per day! I’ve lost nearly 10 pounds this past year, and I just feel like I have more energy and I’m definitely less sedentary during a regular day at the office when it’s so easy to just sit there for hours on end.
Looking back on my pre-Fitbit days, I estimate that I walked between 3,000 – 4,000 steps in an average day, so I’ve nearly tripled my walking just by owning this pedometer.
My stride equates to approximately 2,000 steps per mile, so I’m averaging over 5 miles a day, when I was previously averaging less than 2 miles a day. That’s 21 extra miles each week and about 1,100 miles more per year!
What I’m doing to Walk 10,000 Steps a Day
- First and most importantly, I’m tracking my steps. The pedometer attached to my belt makes me constantly look down to check my progress and this spurs me on to take that extra walk if I’m having a “bad walking day”.
- I set benchmarks throughout the day so I know that, for instance, I should be at around 5,000 steps at 1pm. If I’m significantly behind that, I’ll take an extra long walk during lunch.
- This is almost a cliché, but I always park my car as far from the office door as possible. This throws the whole notion of “getting a good spot” on its head. Getting a ‘good spot’ close to the door gets you hundreds of fewer steps and promotes laziness. I easily walk 250 steps each way from my car to my desk.
- Something as simple as going to get a cup of coffee now gets me about 400 steps per cup. Instead of just standing there waiting for the coffee to brew, I take a few laps around my office. It would otherwise be wasted time standing, so why not get 400 steps closer to my goal?
- I take approximately three 10-minute walks throughout the day. I walk about 100 steps per minute, so that’s 3,000 steps right there. This equates to about 3 laps around my office building. If I’m behind for the day I’ll make my lunchtime walk 15-20 minutes and that puts me right back on track
- When I’m talking on the telephone at home, I make sure I’m constantly walking. I’ll often go outside and just do continuous loops around my yard. So a 15 minute conversation with a friend can easily get you another 1,500 steps.
- If I’m planning on watching a TV show on Netflix Streaming, I’ll stream it to a mobile device and watch while I’m walking. So this feels like leisurely TV time, but during a 40 minute show I’ll easily log 4,000 steps. That’s 2 miles while watching just one TV show!
These are just some of the many things I now do regularly to get my 10,000 steps in each day. It really has become a fun game and I like to see how many steps I can average in a given week or month. My best month was over 12,000 per day, which I was really pleased with!
Little changes like this can add up to big results over time; I was already fairly fit to begin with, but as I mentioned above, even this little change helped me drop nearly 10 pounds in one year. I highly suggest purchasing a pedometer and wearing it each and every day.
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