By Maria Jauhar, MD
We are in the middle of the 12th Annual Medical Fitness Week, which is sponsored by the Medical Fitness Association. The purpose of Medical Fitness Week is to challenge everyone to walk 10,000 steps every day of the week – or 70,000 steps in all.
An average person has a stride length of approximately 2.1 to 2.5 feet. That means that it takes about 2,000 steps to walk one mile – 10,000 steps would be about 5 miles. Studies have shown that most people walk only 1,000 to 3,000 steps a day. If you are someone who just doesn’t seem to move as much as you could, then adding these additional steps has many health benefits. Even if you are physically not able to walk 10,000 steps a day, this week could be the start of a journey that could transform your life.
To track your steps each day, wear a pedometer or fitness tracker. Put it on when you get up in the morning and wear it until bed time. Record your daily steps in a log or notebook. By the end of the week you will know your average daily steps. You might be surprised how many, or how few, steps you get in each day.
A reasonable goal is to increase average daily steps each week by 500 per day until you can easily average 10,000 per day. For example, if you currently average 3,000 steps each day, your goal for week one is 3,500 each day. Your goal week two is 4,000 each day. Continue to increase each week and you should be averaging 10,000 steps by the end of 14 weeks.
There are many ways to increase daily steps. Here are few suggestions. Use your imagination and come up with your own list:
- Take a walk with your spouse, child, or friend
- Walk the dog
- Use the stairs instead of the elevator
- Park farther from the store
- Better yet, walk to the store
- Get up to change the channel
- Window shop
- Plan a walking meeting
- Walk over to visit a neighbor
- Get outside to walk around the garden or do a little weeding
Continue to track your daily steps and/or mileage and keep notes on how you feel, how your body is improving, or other changes you are making to improve your health.
If you are in very poor physical condition or at any point you feel that you are progressing too rapidly, then slow down a bit and try smaller increases. If you have any health concerns, then schedule an appointment with us first by submitting an online appointment request or calling us at 912-897-6832.