STEPtember is a great time to take 'steps' toward a healthier body
By Beth Cecil
Owensboro Health Healthpark dietitian
I brought home a pedometer the other day and my daughter Shelby’s eyes lit up immediately. She could not wait to get her hands on this “cool” gadget. She wore it to school the next day, and then came home that night asking if I had any more for her friends.
BETH'S TWO STEP PLAN TO BETTER HEALTH
1. Reduce your intake by 100 calories a day.
2. Take an extra 2000 steps per day.
As a big advocate of exercise and physical activity, I absolutely loved her enthusiasm and eagerness to walk as many steps as she could. After all, physical activity is such an important part of a healthy lifestyle and quite possibly the key to successful weight loss and weight management.
With our busy lifestyles, obesity rates are on the rise and unfortunately many Americans are having difficultly finding time to exercise or reach that recommended 10,000 steps a day.
The good news is that taking even a few small steps can make a big difference. In fact, did you know that taking just an extra 2,000 steps a day, or one mile, can equate to about 100 extra calories burned each day? This extra 100 calories may be all that is needed to stop weight gain or possibly even promote gradual loss. (Eating 100 calories fewer than your body needs each day or burning 100 more calories a day with activity can lead to a ten pound weight loss in a year.)
Increasing your activity may be easier than you think and now is the perfect time to do it. America On the Move® is an initiative that encourages you to make September 'STEPtember' and urges you to take two small steps:
1. Eat healthfully and reduce your intake by about 100 calories each day.
2. Move more by taking an extra 2000 steps daily.
If you are like Shelby and really want to count your steps, why not get a pedometer? You can find these fairly inexpensively. Otherwise just make an effort each day to move a little more. Take a look at some of these ideas to increase your steps so that you may step up to a healthier weight and way of life.
- Take a walk around the block when you go out to get the mail
- Mow the lawn
- Walk around the house while talking on the phone
- Instead of calling a friend on the phone, meet for a walk and talk
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator
- Walk during your lunch hour
- Visit the restroom at work furthest from your desk
- Bypass the drive thru window at the bank or restaurant and walk in
- March in place while watching TV
- Sign up for a 5K or 10K walk/run in the community
- Take a wilderness walk and enjoy the scenery or just walk through your neighborhood and admire the landscaping
- Take a step aerobics or water walking class
- Stroll around the field while your child has ball practice
- Volunteer to walk dogs for the animal shelter
- Keep a journal to count your steps and reward yourself for step accomplishments
You can even join the America On the Move’s ® STEPtember challenge. Register before September 30th, make a six week commitment to some small lifestyle changes and you can get daily nutrition and physical activity tips, track your progress online and be eligible to win a grand prize. For more tips or information, visit www.americaonthemove.org or call 1-800-807-0077.