Today marks the beginning of Oakland County's "Count Your Steps" program for third and fourth graders. Its goal is to encourage children to become more physically active. Students are given pedometers and logbooks to count and record their steps throughout the day from now until March 27th.
A few years ago, my oldest son's school participated in this program. I have to say it worked. Each successive day my son tried to get in more steps than the day before. He would take extra trips up the stairs. He even asked to go on family walks to boost his numbers. The pedometer served its purpose. Its immediate tracking of progress enticed my son and lured him into more exercise.
Here is my challenge to you. While the third and fourth graders of Oakland County are increasing their steps this month, I encourage you to do the same. A pedometer is a great way to track your progress and is a wonderful tool for self-motivation.
Here is what you need to know about them before you get started. A pedometer is a device that records the number of steps that you take. It is similar in size to a pager and is often worn on the hip by clipping to a belt or waistband. Pedometers differ in price with a range of about $10-$50 based on features offered. Although the more sophisticated models can estimate distance covered and calories burned, these features are not typically as accurate as is the feature for counting steps.
It is generally accepted that healthy adults can set and achieve a goal of 10,000 steps per day. There are approximately 2,000 steps in one mile. To challenge yourself, try every two weeks to increase the number of steps you take per day by 1,000 steps. You can get in those extra steps by parking at the far end of the parking lot, opting for the stairs rather than the elevator, and walking to your neighborhood mailbox to mail a letter rather than leaving it in your own mailbox.
Note: Before beginning an exercise program or increasing the intensity level of a current routine, a physician's approval should be obtained, especially for older adults and those at risk for or who currently have chronic health conditions.