Walk This Way, or Else…

You can walk this way, or else… you may end up suffering from the consequences of being sedentary.

Sedentary

We already know that walking and staying active is SO important to our health & wellness.

But do you understand the negative impact we face by not getting enough steps? Or for sitting too long?

We’ll answer this as we wrap up our “walking” habit for Month 5.

So what’s with this week’s title?

Well, last week I built our theme around a great Pink Floyd song to help you maximize your daily step count with machines. This week, I couldn’t help but incorporate a great Aerosmith song to reinforce the importance of walking.

We’ve all heard and read about the importance of taking 10,000 steps every day (aka 10K a day!). In fact, over the past 4 weeks we’ve covered numerous benefits of walking:

10,000 steps began as an arbitrary number. It was originally created as a promotion by a Japanese pedometer company. Since then, studies have confirmed that 10,000 appears to be the sweet spot where people lose weight and gain control of their health & wellness.

See how you stack up:

  1. Under 5,000 steps per day is considered “sedentary”. This is where health risks begin.
  2. 5,000 to 7,499 is “low active”. This is the category most people fall into. But you don’t want to stay here.
  3. 7,500 to 9,999 is categorized as “somewhat active”.
  4. Log 10,000 to 12,499 steps per day and you are considered to be “active”. With consistency, this is a great place to be.
  5. And over 12,500 puts you in the “highly active” category.

Congratulations if you fall into one of the last two categories.

So what if your activity level has you categorized as sedentary or low active? Should you be concerned and what does this mean?

SedentaryWell the answer to the first part of the question is yes, you should be concerned if you’re sedentary.

You think, “OK, I’m concerned. So what does this mean for me?”

First off, it may indicate that you’re not getting enough exercise. Walking is important to your health & wellness, but it’s not the only thing you need to do.

In addition to walking, you need to include a few strength training and a couple of cardio sessions every week.

This all contributes to your 10K a day, but walking by itself is probably not enough. Your body benefits from strength training in so many ways.

I’m not suggesting that you enter a power-lifting competition like my son-in-law Chris. For us middle-aged and older folks, this includes lighter weights, bodyweight exercises, and machines.

In addition to the benefits of strength training, the sustained intensity from aerobic exercise (aka cardio) is beneficial to your heart, lungs, brain, circulatory, and respiratory systems.

Cardio will also improve your stamina and endurance during strength training sessions, and vice versa.

Many studies have been done to evaluate the consequences of being sedentary. Problems include an increased risk for heart disease, obesity, diabetes, dementia, and some cancers.

Sedentary

Here are 2 good articles worth reading:

If you are sedentary, let this be the catalyst to help you start moving. And make sure to get your doctor’s approval before beginning any new activity, nutrition or exercise program.

Remember, the consistency of slow and steady for long-term results always trumps quick fix!

If you’re new to us, you can link back to the first post of our 6-month series here. And don’t worry about the time of year. We started in January because that’s when most people think about their health & wellness goals. But you can start anytime.

Like TODAY!!!

Sedentary

Same goes if you started but have fallen off-track. Go back to the first post of the series to re-calibrate and get yourself back on-track.

It’s a simple concept: One new habit per month, reinforced weekly to help you build the discipline. And since there are only a half dozen habits to build, it’s easy to manage, once you get into the groove.

But as Jim Rohn used to say, “What’s easy to do is easy not to do”.

6 months to build 6 healthy habits and disciplines that you can sustain for a lifetime.

Here’s how. By…

  • taking action, one habit at a time.
  • consciously (and consistently) making good choices.
  • knowing what to do and learning from your missteps along the way.
  • allowing your new habits to become part of your long-term plan and healthy lifestyle.

It’s up to you how long it takes to reach your goal. And then you have a lifetime to enjoy your new healthy lifestyle. How cool is that?

One last thing before we go.

I have a few words of caution about walking as we wrap up.

  1. First for the ladies: Never walk alone. Especially in the dark or in desolate places.
  2. And for all of us: Always be alert and walk against traffic if you’re forced to walk in the street. Distracted driving is a big problem.
  3. Safety should always be your main goal.

Next week we’ll introduce the 6th and final healthy habit of our 6-month series. In the meantime, don’t forget to Walk This Way!

Sedentary

Or get moving to one of your favorite walking (or running) songs…

Thank you for sharing your time with me. I hope you found value.

Now it’s time for YOU to take action…

What’s your Win to be Thin? Leave a comment below.

Click here to subscribe. You’ll receive an email with a link to each new post. And if you know someone that can benefit from this content, please share it with them.

Welcome To The Machine

Hey 10K! Are you hitting it every day?

Cardio machineIf you need some help, you’re going to like this post.

So how can you increase your daily step count?

I have a few ideas to share that work for me, and I’m hoping they’ll work for you!

Full disclosure: I am not the type of person who likes to spend hours in the gym. I don’t have the time or desire. My average workout time is 45 minutes, which works for me.

I enjoy walking outdoors, so I supplement my workouts with it. Walking improves my thinking, problem-solving abilities, and creativity. And it’s relaxing despite doing it with intensity.

But I’m always looking for ways to log more steps.

And although running is great for so many reasons, it’s not really an option for me anymore. The lingering foot or knee pain I experience from the impact is something I now try to avoid.

But I have found other ways to increase my step count while keeping my heart rate elevated.

Cardio machineWelcome to the machine… Well, I should clarify… Low-impact cardio machines.

Let’s look at a few examples:

  1. Ellipticals: My favorite cardio machine is the Octane Elliptical. After using it for a while, and experimenting with different modes and levels of resistance, you can get close to a “running experience” without any impact on your knees, ankles, feet… And you’ll rack up a lot of steps during an intense 35-minute session.
  2. Bikes: It’s not my “go to” cardio machine, but it’s a good leg workout that will maximize your step count. For a super-intense session, hop on a “spin bike”. Remember your headphones and some loud, ass-kicking music for support and motivation. If you can ride outside, I’m sure my cyclist friends will agree that riding outdoors is more fun and exciting.
  3. Steppers: These cardio machines won’t give you the same high ratio of step count per hour as an elliptical or a bike will, but it’s an intense leg workout that gets (and keeps) your heart rate up.
  4. Treadmills: Aside from the obvious walking (or running), treadmills enable you to control speed or elevation to intensify your workout. I’d much rather walk outdoors at a fast pace than on a treadmill. But a treadmill is a good alternative when you need it.
  5. Jump rope: Surprisingly, I don’t experience pain from jumping rope like I do from running. So I jump rope frequently. If you haven’t jumped rope in a while, you may find that your endurance is low at first. Stick with it and increase the duration every time you jump. And before long, 15 to 30 minutes will be no problem.
  6. Walk the Mall: If the weather is bad or you want a change of scenery, walk the mall. You can window shop. But don’t stop when you see something you like. Instead, wait until you’re done with your walk. And use the stairs for added resistance and intensity.

My goal was to help you find different ways to maximize your step count, by pairing it with some of your cardio training sessions for efficiency. To make it a little easier to get to 10K a day.

Cardio machine

Thank you for sharing your time with me. I hope you found value.

Now it’s time for YOU to take action…

What’s your Win to be Thin? Leave a comment below.

Click here to subscribe. You’ll receive an email with a link to each new post. And if you know someone that can benefit from this content, please share it with them.

There’s An App For That…

You’ve heard it a million times… “There’s an app for that”. Well stay with me, because it applies directly to this week’s theme.

So 10K a day is your new mantra.

And you’re R’acking up the steps. Congratulations!

But how are you T’racking your results and progress?

You know the saying, so say it along with me.

There’s an app for that…

As we discussed last week, there are plenty of apps for iPhone and Android to track your steps. And if you’re an iPhone user, the built-in Health app is incredible for tracking your step count.

But it doesn’t only track your daily step count (automatically), it retains all of your recorded data from Day 1.

Track

For example, in the fitness category, you can also track your active energy (calorie burn), minutes exercised per day, number of workouts, and a few other key metrics.

Aside from the step data, the data for the other fitness categories needs to be entered manually. This info is “tracked” and displayed on a dashboard. And represented visually in graph format based on the time frame of your choice – by Day, Week, Month, or Year.

In addition to tracking your steps, you may find a few other apps useful during your walks.

Here are four of my favorites:

  1. Audible: It’ impossible to read when you’re walking briskly, working out intensely, or driving. I use those times to listen to audio books. For about $15 a month you can get an Audible subscription and continue feeding your mind. If you like reading, it’s a way to maximize your reading time. If you don’t like to read, give it a try. You may take a liking to listening to audio books.
  2. Podcasts: Another great source for learning while you’re on the go. And it’s free. You can follow your favorite thought leaders and listen to their content based on your
  3. Music: Sometimes you just want to listen to music or need some motivation to put a little spring in your step.
  4. Your calendar: I do some of my best thinking during a walk. And I want to capture those thoughts. So instead of slowing down to type, I dictate my thoughts into a new calendar event, which allows me to remember the idea when I’m done or at a later time.

And of course, there are other ways to track your step count in addition to using your smartphone. From high-tech pedometers, fitness bands and smartwatches.

Perhaps this will help to put tracking in perspective for you:

“What gets measured gets managed.” ~ Peter Drucker

Or put another way, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure”.

TrackThe most important point here is to get moving.

Then, “measure” your activity and “track it” with an app or a device.

On another note,

I recently improved my work habits by going to a standing desk, which I love. And there’s huge a side benefit.

Although it doesn’t count for steps, this one move can improve my cardiovascular health by helping me stay “less” sedentary.

Recent research claims that even if you exercise regularly, sitting for long periods of time is unhealthy for a number of reasons.

Here are a few articles on the subject:

“Don’t be a ‘sitting duck for cardiovascular disease’ — move more, sit less,” ~ Dr. Barbara George, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Lifestyle Medicine at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, N.Y.

If you want to get a handle on how much time your daily sitting is adding up to, check out this sitting calculator. And pay close attention to the notes, which I’ve included in the image below.

Track

‘Nuf said. Now it’s time to go get some more steps…

Thank you for sharing your time with me. I hope you found value.

Now it’s time for YOU to take action…

What’s your Win to be Thin? Leave a comment below.

Click here to subscribe. You’ll receive an email with a link to each new post. And if you know someone that can benefit from this content, please share it with them.

Can You Give Me 10,000?

I need your help please. Can you give me 10,000?

I’m not asking you to write a check. But I won’t stop you if you feel so inclined…

It’s Month #5 and we’re launching our next habit – walking.

10,000 steps

Walking has been proven to be a healthy habit. Something we need to be doing all the time. Our bodies are powerful and resilient. And we’ve got to keep moving to remain healthy, vibrant and strong.

Walking is low impact. But it’s great exercise in so many ways.

For example:

  1. At a brisk pace, walking strengthens your legs and core.
  2. It gets your heart rate up. So it aids in circulation and breathing.
  3. And helps to clear your head. Personally, I do some of my best thinking and problem-solving when I’m on a walk (next best place is the shower).
  4. And if it’s sunny, you get to boost your Vitamin D production. Just remember the sunscreen.

Dr. Mehmet Oz recommends 10,000 steps per day (aka “10K a day”). And he’s not the only one.

10,000 steps

By the way, logging 10,000 steps is no small feat. You’ve got to be deliberate and make time for it. Otherwise you will struggle to get anywhere close to hitting that goal every day.

Let’s clarify a few things.

I’ve created this brief Q&A to help you get started with your new walking habit.

(Q1).   What counts as a step?

(A1).   Everything. But as with most things, quality matters. The faster or brisker your pace, the better. We are all at different fitness levels. And you will know when the steps you’re taking are meaningful, and when they’re not. Regardless, find a way to get to at least 10K a day!

(Q2).   How do I track my daily step count?

(A2).    The easiest way is with your smartphone. Or you can use a pedometer, fitness band / activity tracker, or smartwatch.

(Q3).   How do I track my progress?

(A3).    Your smartphone. As an iPhone user, I use the built-in Apple Health app. It automatically tracks your step activity, as long as your phone is with you when you’re moving. It also displays your “daily average” steps on a dashboard. Plus, a whole lot more health-related data. There are plenty of health-related apps on the Android. I’m just not aware of an all-inclusive one like the iPhone offers at this time.

(Q4).   Why 10,000 steps?

(A4).    Well first off, 10,000 steps equates to approximately 5 miles. Based on my research, I discovered that 10,000 began as an arbitrary number. It was originally created as a promotion by a Japanese pedometer company. But since that time, studies have confirmed that 10,000 appears to be the sweet spot where people lose weight and gain control of their health & wellness.

This article is packed with useful information about activity, ways to increase your step count, and top picks for pedometers, fitness bands, and smartwatches.

Will you commit to 10K a day?

10,000 steps

I hope so.

Just don’t do what I did last May, and you’ll avoid making a similar bonehead mistake. Click here to learn what ‘not’ to do.

This one incident set me back a few months, while the pain lingered for at least 6. But it’s a valuable lesson and I am happy to pass it on. So remember to leave the light on.

Thank you for sharing your time with me. I hope you found value.

Now it’s time for YOU to take action…

What’s your Win to be Thin? Leave a comment below.

Click here to subscribe. You’ll receive an email with a link to each new post. And if you know someone that can benefit from this content, please share it with them.