Pedestrian at Heart Health & Two of my Favourite Apps

When given the choice between drive, bike, rollerblades, etc. or walk, I’ll always choose to walk – under reasonable circumstances (don’t hold me to my hyperbole on true Canadian winter days). I enjoy the amount of control I have over my experience: I can stop whenever I want, slow or speed up, jump into a store, stop and smell the roses… it’s all my prerogative.Screenshot 2014-05-02 19.30.25

That said, when I don’t have to get somewhere I tend very much toward sedentary activities (read: reading). I recently got back into the phone app called Noom Walk. I used it last summer but since then a lot of my exercise has been indoors. Now that spring is finally hitting Southern Ontario, I’m falling in like with this app again. I’m suspicious of accuracy but tested many different ways to verify for myself that it counts only steps, i.e. not big bumps while driving, and all steps – I want credit for every one of them!

On a regular day with just short little bursts of walking from point A to point B, I’ve found I’m only around 2,000-3,000 steps daily. On a day when I’m consciously walking for exercise or for longer errands, it’s closer to 4 or 6,000. When I walk for an hour, it’s up to 8,000. Though do note I don’t have my phone on me when I’m on a treadmill or doing a workout DVD; and, if I’m running outside, I’m using Nike+ to track how far and how fast. Then when I’m moving most of the day, my record on Noom has been 18,234. I have to say I’m quite impressed with myself for that amount.

Most people have heard the recommendation is 10,000 steps every day, or around 5 miles. For most people’s regular schedules, this isn’t naturally happening. From what I’ve read online (i.e. NYT), North Americans on average walk closer to have that amount – which is still higher than my typical day! What’s comforting is adding a 30 minute walk can make up most of the gap. True to this, I jump from 2,000 to 6,000 when I get in over 30 minutes of walking.

My dietician advised me to get a pedometer because it can be a fun, healthy “obsession” getting numbers up and I’ve certainly noticed the positive effect with increased inclination to take stairs instead of escalators, even walk about the house more to get more steps in. With a primary goal of maintaining at least 6,000 steps daily, I anticipate this to be an easy way of working more activity into daily life without having to set aside time specifically for a sweat session. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy them and really like the effects of strength training – but this seems to be one of the simplest most effective ways to be healthier.

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