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By Erin Jones
Beaumont Centre YMCA
Sometimes you are told subtly – and other times the references are more on the nose – but it seems we are reminded one way or the other on a daily basis to move more. The message later goes on to say everyone needs to take 10,000 steps daily in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle. “OK,” you say “but 10,000? One, zero, followed by three more zeros? Surely you must be joking!” At first glance, 10,000 steps seem daunting, but a few pointers should assist you in making that goal more attainable.
Rome was not built in a day. Like any fitness goal, starting slowly and building over time is a recipe for success. Marathon runners do not walk out of their door on the first day of training and immediately run 26.2 miles. They begin with much shorter distances and build their way to the full distance over time. While you may not be training for a marathon, the training principles still apply when increasing your daily movement. Walking is a fantastic way to get more exercise since it depends not on age, income, location or access to an exercise facility; most everyone can add a few more steps to their routine every day. By setting small goals to move more, you will feel more successful as you complete your goals and begin to have even loftier aspirations.
In a world of computers, smart phones and apps; there is an electronic gizmo for everything. Walking is no different and a pedometer is a neat device to accurately track the number of steps you have taken and the distance you have traveled. Instead of estimating, you will have hard evidence of how close you have come to achieving your stated goal or if it is time to set an even higher objective. Pedometers vary in price and features, but many are reasonably priced and are carried by a variety of stores locally.
Incorporate a friend (dogs count, too!) and have a workout buddy. When someone else is holding you accountable, shirking those extra steps becomes more difficult. Additionally, having someone else there to talk to makes the time go by a lot faster.
Be opportunistic in finding extra steps. The next time you are out shopping, park at the farthest part of the parking lot and accumulate a few extra steps walking in and out of the store. 50 steps, here and there, adds up over time to a significant amount. Pushing a mower around your yard? Walking around your house cleaning up the week’s messes? All those steps count, too.
These are just a few hints to help you add additional steps to your daily routine. With a little creativity, I’m sure you could come up with your own list of more ideas. You now have the tools to begin expanding your fitness routine and get to “stepping” towards your goals.
Erin Jones has served as the Wellness Director at the Beaumont Centre Family YMCA in Lexington for the past five years. A graduate of Transylvania University with a B.A. in Exercise Science, she holds the following certifications: YMCA Foundations of Strength and Conditioning; YMCA Foundations of Group Exercise Instructor; YMCA Mat Pilates Instructor; YMCA Cycling Instructor; SilverSneakers® Instructor; YUSA Trainer for Foundations of Group Exercise.