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How to Use a Pedometer to Get 10,000 Steps

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How to Get to 10,000 Steps

More and more doctors and fitness experts recommend walking 10,000 steps every day as a way to maintain a healthy weight and exercise your heart. Where did this magic number come from?

"The 10,000 steps number was discovered in Japan over 40 years ago," Parks says. The general Japanese lifestyle includes eating healthy and walking -- a lot. Since generally, Japanese are healthier than Americans, American health experts began to adopt the Japanese model of healthy living. Making that concept work for us is another thing.

As it stands, Americans average about 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day. But Parks insists getting 10,000 in is a cinch. She says she has remained fit since picking up the habit about four years ago. The main thing is not to make it punishment, Parks says, but just a normal routine. "We really try to have people weave it into their lifestyle," she says.

You could try to get all your steps in one, long walk -- it would be about 5 miles -- but chances are, you don't have that kind of time, at least not every day. Parks has a good way to jump-start your steps. "I try to get up and get in a half-hour in the morning, walking around my neighborhood or on the treadmill or, if I'm away, just walking around my hotel room."

In fact, walking at a 15-minute-mile pace for a half-hour will earn you about 4,000 steps. Just over half to go! When Parks gets to the office, she first takes a quick walk around the parking lot, thinking about her day ahead and what she needs to do, so she not only works in more steps, but prepares herself mentally for a productive day.

Here are some other ideas to sneak in steps:

  • Take stairs whenever possible.
  • Instead of carrying all the laundry upstairs at once (or the dishes from the table to the kitchen), take several trips.
  • While you wait for a flight at the airport, skip the trashy tabloid, and walk up and down the corridors.
  • When grocery shopping, walk through every aisle.
  • Instead of emailing your coworker down the hall, walk over to her office.
  • While gabbing on the phone, walk around your house.
  • Grab your significant other and get out there together.
  • Choose a parking spot that's far from the store entrance -- or just walk to the store!
  • Treat the dog to a longer walk.
  • Make a walking date with a friend, instead of calling her.

If jumping from your sedentary 4,000 steps to 10,000 in one day has you heading back to the couch, feel free to build up to it. Aim for 20 percent more each week until you reach 10,000. Soon enough, you'll be racking up those steps without even thinking.

Originally published on, December 2005.


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jfogarty15 wrote:

Dear Elisa, Great article on how pedometers can get people started on the path to health an wellness. If your readers need pedometers or accelerometers in bulk to start a wellness program have them visit the following website Keep writing Elisa... I love your articles!

4/17/2013 09:21:28 AM Report Abuse
Crasy1 wrote:

After I started using the pedometer I had a check on my fitness and it helped my goal of weight reduction. Pedometer is always helpful for fitness

12/31/2012 10:29:53 AM Report Abuse
kurt.brandso wrote:

Like your article. Some good advice here. CVheers Kurt

6/18/2012 12:41:51 AM Report Abuse

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