Thursday, May 1, 2008

10k Challenge

Yesterday morning I excitedly attached my new pedometer to my slacks and couldn't wait until I saw how many steps I did in a day. I thought I should be close to 10k steps even though I have a fairly inactive job. Oh wait, let me rephrase that I have a very inactive job. I sit at a computer all day. I do ocassionally get up and go downstairs, via the stairs. Don't get overly proud of me for taking the stairs, we don't have an elevator. Although, I do think that I would probably take the stairs anyway.

I didn't go to the gym yesterday because I wanted to see how many steps I took in a typical day without exercise. At the end of the day, I removed my new toy from my slacks and to my surprise the numbers were pathetic. I was shocked that I wasn't even close to 10k. I was thinking it would be around 7k or so but no, it was only 2014 steps for a total of .69 miles.

I tend to be one of those people that gets my mind set on something and I go full speed ahead. Then something happens a couple of weeks down the road and all the steam is gone. I want to try something a little different this time seeing this isn't a race to the finish line. You ever watched runners in a long race? They don't start out full speed ahead. They pace theirselves to keep up the stamina. This is what I am going to do. Slow and steady wins the race, right? I decided to look to the experts on the very popular 10k challenge and found this article. I have taken some of the information out of the article, but you can read the full version here.

Don't forget to sign up for the Bloggers' Biggest Loser Challenge. More info here

The 20% Boost Program: Fit Walking into Your Life

The realistic way to build up to 10,000 steps a day.

The goal of taking 10,000 steps in a day is a rough equivalent to the Surgeon General's recommendation to accumulate 30 minutes of activity most days of the week. It should be enough to reduce your risk for disease and help you lead a longer, healthier life. But not everyone should start right out trying to get 10K a day. So instead take a comfortable, gradual approach -- the 20% Boost Program.

First, invest in a pedometer. Put a safety string through the pedometer's waist clip and pin it or loop it through a belt loop, so the pedometer isn't dropped down a toilet.
Now follow the simple program below.

The first week, don't change your life at all; just learn your baseline average daily step total. Then, for the next two weeks try to boost that average by 20%. Be sure to follow the directions and fill in the simple log -- it's critical to helping you learn what adds steps to your day and what detracts. If you have questions, reference our FAQ.

Week 1:
The goal is to measure your steps in a typical week. Don't try to walk more than normal. Each morning, reset the pedometer to "0." Set it to show steps (ignore distance and calorie counts). Keep it closed and attached to the front of your waist to the left or right of center. Wear it all day from the moment you wake up until going to bed, except when immersed in water. At night remove it, record the number of steps you've taken in the log, and note if you did any formal exercise (wear your pedometer then, too); for example, "20-minute treadmill walk." Also note if anything caused more (museum tour) or fewer (all-day meeting) steps than usual in your day. Attach your pedometer to your shoe if you bicycle and the pedometer doesn't seem to count your pedaling.

Add steps for all seven days:
Divide by 7:
Multiply by 1.2:
(This is your goal for week #2.)

Week 2:
Your goal is to boost your average daily steps by 20%. Add the total steps taken in week one and divide by seven. Then multiply by 1.2. The result is your new target number for daily steps. So, if you averaged 3,000 steps a day in week one, try for 3,600 a day in week two. How you reach your goal is up to you. Most physical activity counts, including formal workouts (a brisk walk, using most exercise machines) and informal exercise (taking the stairs instead of the elevator or even pacing on the subway platform).
Week 2

Week#1 Average Steps:
Goal average for week #2:

Add steps for all seven days:
Divide by 7:
Multiply by 1.2:
(This is your goal for week #3.)

Week 3:
If you haven't reached 10,000 steps, or if your goal is substantial weight loss (for which many experts recommend 12,000 to 15,000 steps a day), then boost your steps again by 20%. Calculate your second week's daily average and multiply by 1.2. If aerobic fitness is a goal, try boosting the speed of at least 2,000 to 4,000 of the steps you're already doing.

Average Steps Week#2:
Goal average for week #3:

Weeks #4 and beyond:
Some people find that just with three weeks of effort they've gotten their daily step average close to or beyond 10,000. But many find it takes several more weeks of boosting by 20% each week until they can create a 10,000 step-per-day habit. Even if you only try for 10% more each week, you'll soon find that your days are full of opportunities for more steps. You'll also find that in short order you won't need a pedometer to tell you how you're doing. For example, if you get off the train a stop early or take a walk at lunch you know you'll hit your total, but otherwise you come up short. However, consider using your pedometer whenever you need a step-check.

Answers to some common questions:
How many steps do I need?
Here are some rough targets:
For long term health and reduced chronic disease risk:
10,000 steps a day
For successful, sustained weight loss:
12,000 - 15,000 steps a day
To build aerobic fitness:
Make 3,000 or more of your daily steps fast


Scale Junkie said...

OMG we ARE neighbors! I'm in Holiday. I haven't been on the boardwalk yet because they don't allow dogs and I always have the dogs when we go down there. I can't believe you're so close to me.

Crystal said...

Hi there fellow Floridian! Just ran across your blog-sounds like we are both trying to get in shape. I think a pedometer is a great way to see how active you are throughout the day and it makes one realize how many or few steps we do take. I also have an overly inactive job so I feel your pain.

P.S. Slow and steady does win the race!

Cammy said...

I'd already signed up for another exercise challenge for May, but I wanted to let you know that I think this is a GREAT idea! I've got my pom-poms and I'll be cheering from the sidelines.

Hanlie said...

My pedometer's also died, so I'm definitely getting a new one! I like this approach very much, because I also believe in a slow, realistic start.