Melissa Kirdzik, the dietitian who helped me shed 26 pounds during my year as Shape magazine's Weight-Loss Diary columnist, returns today to talk about the importance of small steps. Take it away, Melissa:
MK: I read a very interesting article in the Feb. 2008 issue of Better Nutrition. It talked about a Journal of the American Medical Association review of 26 studies focusing on the benefits of using pedometers. According to the article, "Study subjects who used pedometers increased their activity level by almost 30 percent, had a significant drop in body mass index, and lowered their systolic blood pressure by almost four points [a two-point drop in systolic blood pressure is associated with a 10 percent reduction in risk of death from stroke]. Most adults take between 4,500 and 6,500 steps per day, and adults who take fewer than 5,000 steps per day are considered sedentary."
Very interesting, don't you think? It's commonly recommended that adults aim for 10,000 steps per day for a healthy activity level.
If you find yourself overwhelmed during the holiday season -- or any other -- and just can't seem to find an hour block to get to the gym, it's OK. Invest in a $5 pedometer and see just how many steps you can really fit in during your day. You'll be amazed at all the opportunities to sneak them in. If 10,000 steps seems unreasonable, then start off by trying to double your normal distance and work up from there.
How many miles will you be walking? Steps per mile will vary depending on stride length, but typically, it's about 2,000 to 2,500 steps per mile. Next time you're on the treadmill, count your steps for one-tenth of a mile and multiply by 10 to get your specific number.
Thanks, Melissa, for stopping by with this great reminder that little moves add up!