Exercising is an important part of weight loss and general health. Choosing an exercise regime that fits into your lifestyle can be key to achieving continuity and the long term health benefits of exercise, such as weight loss, improved muscle tone, lowering glucose levels, improving blood pressure, and improving cholesterol levels.
People new to exercise can be put off by having to buy special clothes or equipment, or joining gyms or taking classes. But one form of exercise that almost anyone can do is walking. Walking has a relatively low barrier to entry and is virtually free (aside from a good pair of shoes). A nice brisk walk every day is a good habit to have, but it’s also easy to squeeze extra steps into your schedule over the course of each day and watch them add up.
One way to see your steps add up is by using a pedometer. Pedometers can be inexpensive devices that can clip to your clothing, or you can join the latest craze of bracelet or watch style step counters that also measure distance, calories burned, and stairs climbed, some even measure heart rate and monitor your sleep habits.
Whether you choose a simple step counter or a multipurpose device, seeing the number of steps add up over the course of the day can be both motivating and enlightening. You may find that some days you take more steps than others, and some days you may not reach your goal, which may be a good way of monitoring your activity levels.
If you are trying to add steps into your day to reach or exceed your goal, we’ve put together a list of simple ways to step it up:
- Take the stairs
- Park your car farther away from work, school, or the store
- Take the dog for a longer walk or an extra walk
- Vacuum or sweep the floor more often at home
- Walk around the room while you talk on the phone
- Use a copy machine, water cooler, or bathroom that is farther from your work space (or better yet on a different floor and take the stairs)
- Hide the TV remote and get up to change the channels
- During TV commercials, get up and do something (put a dish in the sink, put the pen where it belongs, straighten the curtains, put the laundry away a little at a time)
- Take 2 full loops around the inside perimeter of the grocery store before starting to shop
- Return the grocery cart all the way to the store after shopping
- Make a habit of taking a walk every night after dinner or on each lunch break
- During the kids’ soccer practice, walk up and down the field
Many people find having a buddy to walk with helps motivate them and adds accountability. Also, you can have a little friendly competition with a companion, colleague, or family member or online challenge group to give you a little extra motivation to add steps to your day! By adding extra steps each day and striving to reach your weight loss goals, you are setting yourself up for positive changes both physically and mentally.
The above information is provided by the Boca Raton Florida office of Dr. Shillingford, MD, a board certified surgeon specializing in advanced laparoscopic and obesity surgery, who is committed to helping his lap band, gastric bypass, and gastric sleeve patients improve their health. Dr. Shillingford’s surgical weight loss patients are often seeking advice on how to improve their fitness levels and help reach their weight loss goals both before and after lap band, gastric sleeve, and gastric bypass surgeries.