Step it Up

Monday, October 18, 2010

Photo: Courtesy of Arvind Balarman

Throughout the past three weeks I’ve been wearing a pedometer to count the number of steps I take on a given day. Being a fairly active person who walks to class rather than taking the bus and works as a server at a very busy restaurant in Newington, I assumed that I walked approximately two to four miles per day. What I found, however, absolutely astonished me. On school days, work days, and days where I both went to school and worked I walked approximately two to four, seven to twelve, and ten to fourteen miles, respectively. This means that on average I walked approximately forty-three miles per week – isn’t that crazy?

This little experiment got me thinking about ways to boost the number of steps you take on a daily basis. These are the tips I have for you:

1. Park further away in parking lots. Rather than weaving in and out of people walking and waiting for that ever-desired front parking spot, park in the back of the lot. It’s not a big deal for you, as it will only take a few seconds in extra time, but could really add on the steps on a daily basis!

 2. Take the stairs. Rather than always using the elevator or escalator available for convenience, try taking the stairs every now and then. It might not be very fun at the beginning, but the sight of the last step will really make you feel like you’ve accomplished a task.

3. Change the television channel manually. Rather than using the remote to change the channel with the simple finger click of the button, get up and change the channel manually. I’ve been without a remote for the past few months, and I must say, it does add a little walking time onto my daily routine.

4. Avoid the bus. While the bus is definitely a great alternative to driving on your own, try walking everywhere on campus. Not only will it save you time waiting at the bus stop, but will definitely add a substantial number of steps to your daily count

5. Walk the dog. A very large percentage of American citizens have dogs for pets. The question is, do they always walk their dog? If you’re a person who is guilty of not walking your dog on a daily basis, start a walking routine. You’ll be earning brownie points for your dog and increasing your daily steps.

 Benefits of walking include, but are not limited to:

  1. Improving circulation
  2. Enhancing muscle tone
  3. Helps breathing
  4. Helps with weight control
  5. Prevents and controls diabetes
  6. Combats depression
  7. Heart health
  8. Boosts the immune system
  9. Helps prevent osteoporosis
  10. Reduces stress

To learn more about the benefits of walking and more tips for increasing your daily walking routine, visit the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center.

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