Towards 10,000 steps – how to increase your total

"Like many people I always 'watch my weight' in January and make sure that I am no heavier this January than I was 12 months ago.  Even though I’m happy to report I weigh less that I did then, I shall still be tucking into my Weight to Go meals with piles of vegetables so that I can “put some calories in the bank” for later.  I’m thinking of doing a really serious bike ride in 2012 and have already started my training regime.

"One of my favourite quotations of all time (which is why I keep quoting it!) is from Francis Fuller who published Medicina Gymnastica in 1705 in which he wrote, 'If some of the benefits of regular exercise could be procured by any one Medicine, then nothing in the world would be held in more esteem than that Medicine.' In other words, exercise is the best medicine of all.

"Today we understand an enormous amount about the science of exercise, we know that physical activity is generally quite safe, even for patients with heart disease and we know roughly how much activity is required to achieve health benefits.  Walking is the most natural of all exercise and has been undervalued in terms of its health promoting properties.  Walking is such a mood enhancing activity especially with a friend or friends.  Try and make just one of the suggestions below become a lifetime habit this year:

  • Take a walk during your lunch break
  • Always use the stairs – never the lift
  • Park in the furthest parking slot away from the supermarket/shop/office door
  • Get off the bus/train/underground one or two stops earlier than usual
  • Use the toilet furthest from your office
  • Put your printer away from your desk so you have to get up each time
  • Go for an evening walk with your spouse/partner/friend/children.  The latter may complain at first but it really is good quality time which they will, hopefully, come to value
  • Get up to change channels on the TV
  • Walk during the TV commercial breaks.  This is very effective.  If each commercial break is about 3 minutes and you walk at about 110 steps/min you will get 330 steps each break.  If you do this five times during the evening this amounts to an extra 1650 steps/day.  If you live in a small house/flat this option may not be available to you so you may want to invest in an exercise DVD, a treadmill or find an alternative way to get those steps in during the day so you can just sit and relax on the sofa in the evening.

"One of the nicest comments I had from a patient recently was when she said, “I remember you telling me to park away from the supermarket door and I always, always do this.  I can hear your words ringing in my ears so even when it’s raining I park as far away as possible and make a dash for it”.  That’s my girl!

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Towards 10,000 steps – how to increase your total
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