Thursday, October 13, 2005

Walk at Least a Mile in My Shoes

Mindy Hermann (NAPSI)-The famous 1970's song, "Walk a Mile in My Shoes," wasn't about increasing physical activity. But today, the message could help millions of Americans who don't include enough activity in their day.

I received a small pedometer as a gift. It came with instructions telling me to walk 10,000 steps every day. Wow, that seemed like a lot to me! So I gave it a try-an exercise class, my usual walk with the dog, and several loads of laundry up and down the stairs. At the end of the day, I had taken 8,000 steps. I was a bit discouraged, but realized I could add more steps here and there to reach 10,000. If you think that you're far off from this goal, don't worry! You can add activity gradually.

A new program called "America on the Move" recognizes that many Americans may find it difficult to fit 10,000 steps into a typical day. "If we give people goals that are too high, they may get frustrated and quit," says Dr. James Hill, Ph.D., director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. "America on the Move inspires Americans to become healthier by doing just a little more each day-walk an extra 2,000 steps, about a mile, and also eliminate just 100 calories from foods."

Cutting 100 calories or more a day is surprisingly easy. It can be done at one meal or in smaller increments through out the day. Try a serving of Whole Grain Total with skim or low-fat milk instead of whole milk. Swap a couple of tablespoons of regular salad dressing for fat-free. Eat one cookie instead of two. Cook in a non stick skillet and use less oil, butter or margarine. Top your sandwich with lettuce, tomato and mustard rather than mayonnaise. The easiest of all, trim portion sizes.

Ask Mindy
Q: We don't have sidewalks in my neighborhood. How can I get 2,000 extra steps if it's not possible to safely walk where I live?

A: Walk in a local mall. Many malls sponsor walking clubs that meet before the stores open. Use a treadmill at your local Y, community center or gym. Or purchase a comfortable, sturdy treadmill to use at home.
Mindy Hermann

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