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Walk the walk


No gym membership, no problem. Pushchair bound, no worries. Comfortable footwear, great – let’s get going on foot.

Are you sitting still? Now we will begin

One way to determine your activity level is to count the amount of steps that you take in an average day. Modern research says that taking 10,000 steps indicates an active lifestyle, but due to many of us being office based many are failing to take the recommended steps. According to Public Health England, as a nation we spend as many as 60% of our working days in a sedentary position. It is increasingly thought that too much sitting can have as much negative effect on the body as smoking. It is thought to double your risk to heart disease if you sit for more than 8 hours, compared with sitting for 4 hours or less. Being sedentary is also liked with obesity, type ii diabetes and some cancers.

How do you rate?

Steps/day Activity Level
Under 5000 sedentary
5,000 - 7,499 low active
7,500 - 9,999 somewhat active
10,000 active
12,500 or more highly active

Source: Tudor-Locke C, Bassett DR

Are you getting enough?

In order to know if we are active enough we need to know how many steps we are taking. These days there are many ways to record your steps including pedometers (that start at under £10), to smart phone apps, smart and sports watches to fitness trackers. Pedometers just tend to measure steps forward, whilst fitness trackers tend to use accelerometer which monitors movements in all directions, and some also recoding elevation such as hills and stairs using an altimeter. You may also be able to set alerts for when you are not moving enough, which can give you extra motivation. Or if you are the competitive type, you may want to link up with others via your smart phone app or fitness tracker to do a walking challenge.

Using a simple pedometer? Why not set your own challenge, such as walking the equivalent of Leeds to London in 3 months. Just remember to record your steps taken/distance each day.

All different equipment measures in slightly different ways, so even if you walked the same route as your friend you would be unlikely to get identical results – plus your stride length would be another variable. The value comes from being able to compare from day to day on how you are doing, so you are consistently getting in enough activity.

Get on track

If you find you are constantly missing the recommended 10,000 here are some ideas on how to get more in:

  • Park at the far side of the car park at work and when shopping
  • Get off the bus a stop or more earlier
  • Using public transport instead of cabs
  • Get up to the printer every time you print rather than letting it collate
  • Go over and speak to your colleges rather than email
  • Use stairs rather than lifts
  • Walk around when on the phone
  • Find walking workouts online to do inside if you are not liking the weather
  • Use your lunch break
  • Have walking meetings at work
  • Instead of sitting down with a coffee to catch up with a friends, take a stroll together
  • Look to see if your Council does free Health Walks
  • Go for family walks#
  • Try activities such as tennis or ice skating

One foot in front of the other

Not only are you improving your health by walking, your waist line may also see the benefits. This is an example of the calories you can burn.

Female, Age 40, 5ft5 tall, Weighs 12st 7lbs and has a Moderately Sedentary lifestyle.

Walking Speed Calories Burned In
10 Mins 20 Mins 30 Mins
2 Mph 26.4kcal 52.7kcal 79.1kcal
3 Mph 42.7kcal 85.4kcal 128.1kcal
4 Mph 61.4kcal 122.7kcal 184.1kcal

Walking 10,000 steps a day burns around 400 calories and will cover around 5 miles.

To meet Government Guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week around 4mph is about right.

You can calculate your walking speed in two ways:

  1. Time how long it takes you to walk a mile (pre-measure it in the car) or
  2. Count the number of steps you take in 1 minute

Look up your figure on the chart below and read across to find your walking speed:

Steps/Minute Minutes/Mile Mile/Hour
70 30 2
90 24 2.5
105 20 3
120 17 3.5
140 15 4

*Based on a 2½ foot stride

It takes around 10 minutes to walk around 1,000 steps – and even less if you are jogging.

As part of personal training sessions, I look at what will specifically work for an individual and lifestyle. If you need personalised help please get in touch for further information and how I can help; / 07984159824.

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