16 July 2013 Walk Your Way to Fitness: Take the Two-Week Challenge!

Physical activity does not have to be complicated. You can improve your health with a daily walk.

In the weight loss class that I teach at a local community college, one favorite activity is the two-week walking challenge. During week one, students use a pedometer to track steps taken during their normal routine at work and at home. During week two, students challenge themselves to increase their activity by 500 steps on a daily basis.

Before this activity, one student reported:

“One thing that has personally held me back with exercise is the fact that I am so out of shape that the thought of an intense workout usually keeps me on the couch. With walking, I can start out very easily and build up my intensity level.”

Step Into It with a Pedometer

Step 1: Pedometer

Buy a pedometer or download the MyNetDiary GPS Tracker app for $1.99 to your iPhone, which tracks distance and calories. If you are already using MyNetDiary for tracking the foods you eat, the MyNetDiary GPS Tracker can be linked to your calorie counter account. If you like to listen to music, the app also has a built-in music player. Simple and sleek!

Step 2: Week One

Establish your baseline steps or daily distance. Wear the pedometer for at least three days straight as you go through your normal routine at work and at home. The students in my class are required to track for seven days! Then, add up the total number of steps or distance each day and divide the total number by 3 or 7 (depending how many days you tracked). This gives you the average number of steps or distance each day that you walked.

Print and fill out this handout for the Baseline Pedometer Activity.

Step 3: Week Two

Make a short-term goal to increase the number of steps you take each day by about 500 steps. If you are tracking distance, 500 steps are roughly equivalent to .25 or 1/4 of a mile.

Print and fill out this handout for the Challenge Yourself! Pedometer Activity

Step 4: Work up to 10,000 Steps each day!

A long-term goal may be 10,000 steps per day, which is about 5 miles (8 kilometers) several days per week. You may also want to set a goal of walking faster as your fitness level improves.

A great website that helps get you started on developing a fitness plan based on the 10,000 steps a day program is: (http://www.thewalkingsite.com/) Check out the FAQ (frequently asked questions) section as well.

Every Step Does Count!

Have you ever wondered how many calories you would actually burn if you walked the stairs rather than took the elevator?

Click on this chart to see how your daily choices can make a big difference.

Think of a good walk as if it were a good diet

At the end of the two-week assignment, one student reported back about what helped motivate her to walk (other than her grade depended on it!),

“I learned to think of a good walk as if it were a good diet. Meaning that variety, moderation, and continuation is key! Walking different places keeps you interested and walking in interesting parts of town keeps you less bored!”

Enjoy your two-week walking challenge!

If you have any tips to increase the number of steps you walk each day, please share them with us below in the comments section.

Martha Henze

MS, RD, Traveling Taste Buds, LLC

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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.

Tags:

Exercise/GoalsExercise/Walking & Steps

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