How to walk 10,000 “steps” to better fitness.
By Chris Hammerlund
The most useful suggestion for activity or exercise is the one that matches up to your life most naturally.
But that's the question with exercise isn't it? If your desire to exercise doesn't cause you to change your life, then how can it possibly make a difference? The underlying truth is that exercise seldom works if you simply drop an artificial exercise regime on top of a sedentary lifestyle expecting it to be a lifechanger. Something has to change. As in you have to change a little.
The hottest concept in fitness these days gradually morphs exercise into a natural part of your life - a slightly “new” life based on activity
It's called the “10,000 steps a day” program. Some corporations have adopted it for their employees, but anybody can use it.
Here's the theory. Even total couch potatoes take a predictable number of steps each day. Fit people do the same. The difference in the number of steps is not so much a function of exercise. It's a function of how they life their lives.
So, how many steps each day translate into the likelihood of fitness. The answer is about 10,000 which sounds like a lot. But even couch potatoes average about 2,000 a day. It takes about 2,000 steps to walk a mile and so 10,000 steps is about five miles.
To reach 10,000, you don't have to quintuple the total from one day to the next. But add 500 steps every day. The object is to increase the daily rate. A good walk with the dog will work wonders. Buy a pedometer and track your steps. They'll add up.
So, here's the good part. There are hundreds of ways to “walk” by doing other fun things besides walking. Here some equivalencies of common physical events that translate into steps:
Aerobic dancing (low impact) - 115
Aerobics (intense) - 190
Aerobic step training, 4" step (beginner) - 145
Backpacking (no load) - 155
Backpacking with 10 pound load - 180
Backpacking with 30 pound load - 235
Badminton - 150
Basketball (game) - 220
Basketball (leisurely, non-game) - 130
Bicycling, 10 mph (6 minutes/mile) - 125
Bowling - 55
Canoeing, 2.5 mph - 75
Cross-country snow skiing (leisurely) - 155
Cross-country snow skiing (moderate) - 220
Cross-country snow skiing (intense) - 330
Cycling, 15 mph (5 minutes/mile) - 200
Cycling, 5 mph - 55
Dancing (fast) - 175
Gardening (heavy) - 155
Gardening (moderate) - 90
Golfing (with a cart) - 70
Handball - 230
Housework - 90
Ice skating (leisurely) - 95
Mopping - 85
Mowing - 135
Painting - 80
Ping Pong - 90
Racquetball - 205
Roller skating (moderate) - 150
Rowing machine - 180
Running 8 mph (7.5 minutes/mile) - 305
Running 10 mph (6 minutes/mile) - 350
Scrubbing the floor - 140
Scuba diving - 140
Shopping for groceries - 60
Skipping rope - 285
Snow shoveling - 195
Snow skiing, downhill - 130
Soccer (competitive) - 195
Squash - 205
Stair climber machine - 160
Stair climbing - 140
Swimming (25 yrds/minute) - 120
Swimming (50 yards/minute) - 225
Swimming (75 yards/min) - 290
Tennis (doubles) - 110
Tennis (singles) - 160
Vacuuming - 75
Volleyball (leisurely) - 70
Washing the car - 75
Water Skiing - 160
Waxing the car - 100
Window Cleaning - 75
OK, so I am NOT going to wash windows to get in better shape. That's worse than jogging.
10 tips for Winter Wellness
- Go for a walk even when the weather is really cold – your body has to work overtime to get warm and you may burn up to 50% more calories than you would on the same walk in summer! But remember, go a little slower until you get warm and keep up the hydration.
- If you find it hard to get motivated to exercise in winter…just think of spring and how much harder it is to get back into shape rather than maintain your fitness throughout the winter.
- Be aware of tendonitis and stress fracture if you don”t exercise in winter and expect to pick up where you left off after a whole winter with no exercise.
- Instead of picking up a cup of hot chocolate to keep yourself warm, try a herbal beverage.
- Gain an interest in indoor sports as opposed to cycling and jogging outdoors. Don”t forget that swimming at an indoor pool is an option for a great cardio workout!
- The cold air and indoor heaters can dry out your skin. Make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water each day and use moisturizers throughout winter.
- Buy some indoor plants to soften up the dry atmosphere caused through heating. Indoor plants give off moisture and oxygen and the colours will brighten up a dull day outside.
- Caught a cold or flu? If the infection is above the neck (nose, throat) you could be OK to complete a low intensity workout. However, if you have symptoms that are worse than an average cold (chest congestion, muscle aches), exercise will only make you worse and delay your recovery. Rest is the best medicine.
- Wear the right clothes when exercising in winter. Polypropylene is the perfect fabric to wear underneath a tracksuit, which will provide great insulation but minimise moisture loss. Gore-Tex is a fabric used widely for providing protection from the rain and wind.
- Feel like sitting on the couch with a video and snacking on a cold, wet day? Reach for a protein bar or packet of soy nuts instead of high energy, high fat snacks.