Steps

Steps. Did you get your steps in? This is a common phrase these days. Fitness trackers have become all the new rage. They are quite an improvement on the classic pedometer, as many track sleep, heart rate, etc in addition to steps. Some of these fitness trackers also allow you to compete against friends and family in daily and/or weekly challenges. I believe this can be a great motivator!

So how many steps should we get each day? There have been many recommendations over the years, so I did a little research to find out some more information. The information below is from a study I found on pubmed.gov.

<5000 steps/day may be used as a 'sedentary lifestyle index'; (ii). 5000-7499 steps/day is typical of daily activity excluding sports/exercise and might be considered 'low active'; (iii). 7500-9999 likely includes some volitional activities (and/or elevated occupational activity demands) and might be considered 'somewhat active'; and (iv). >or=10000 steps/day indicates the point that should be used to classify individuals as 'active'. Individuals who take >12500 steps/day are likely to be classified as 'highly active'.

As you can see, the recommendation per each individual is not the same. The key is to move more than you were previously moving. If you get a pedometer, wear it around for a few days, and find you are only averaging 3000-4000 steps per day, increasing your steps to 5000 or 6000 per day is a great way to start moving more. If you are a more active person, it is reasonable to shoot for 10,000 steps or more each day. 

Now, how do we get more steps? Should we aim to get the same number of steps each day? Obviously there are going to be days when we move more than other days and that is okay. In order to get more steps, try the following tips:
-Park and walk - Don't always aim to get the closest spot at work or when you are shopping

-Get up from your desk each hour and do a lap or two around the office. Take a note pad and jot down a to-do list if you feel like you are wasting time. Consider walking with a colleague for a meeting instead of sitting together at a desk.

-Stand or pace while on the phone at home or at work.

-Take the kids or dogs on a walk before or after dinner. Yes, even in the winter. There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing choices. 

-Use the treadmill at home or at the gym while watching your favorite TV show.

-Get up and do laps around the house while the commercials are on if you are sit

Additionally, try to spread your steps out over the day. Just because you may exercise or complete your step goal early in the day doesn't give you a pass to chill out the rest of the day. There have been recent studies that there are risks to sitting too much.

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