Southwest Orthopaedic Physical Therapy Information Headquarters

An extra mile a day keeps the doctor away

Posted by Dani Livsie on Jan 5, 2012 9:00:00 AM

walkingWalking… do it, I do it.  Turns out it is something most everyone does every day.  But have you ever stopped to consider how far you actually walk in an average day?  How about a day at the mall?  I was recently introduced to a new friend while at a soccer tournament with one of my daughters.  My new friend caught my attention because while the rest of us “soccer moms” sat in the plush grass of Arizona soaking up some sunshine waiting for the game to start, she marched herself all around the fields.  When she finally sat down to watch the game, I began to inquire about her walking.  I discovered that my friend Lynne is employed by Sandia National Labs who it turns out encourages their employees to WALK! 

Yes it is true, we all do it everyday, however the majority of us try really hard not to walk more than we have to.  We don’t often “go that extra mile”….or that extra 2,000 steps! My friend Lynne has made the commitment to herself to try and walk 15,000 steps each day.  Roughly 7.5 miles a day!  She is able to turn her extra steps into some pretty nice financial benefits through her employeer. So I began to think, why don’t we all take a few more steps?  Why do we always try and park as close to the door as possible? Would we all walk more if we had incentive? I was very curious about this walking thing! I began to wonder if I could find some sort of incentive to make my patients walk more.  I first decided that I needed to know how far I walk on an average day. To find out how far you walk on a daily basis you need a Pedometer.  This little device clips onto your pants and can be purchased at Target, WalMart or a sporting goods store for $7 to $25. The Pedometer will keep track of how many steps you take while you are wearing the device.  So I ran out to WalMart as soon as I returned home from Arizona and purchased a basic Pedometer for $10.  The first day I wore the Pedometer was a work day.  I put the Pedometer on at 6:00 am and took it off after I attended a board meeting that night and returned home at 9:30pm.  I had actually walked 10,000 steps!!  I was impressed as that was roughly 5 miles and I didn’t even have to try!  The next day was my day off which consisted of staying home to clean house and do laundry as well as a trip to the grocery store.  My second daily total was 6,500 steps. Not bad considering I sat on the couch and folded laundry for several hours! On both of my first two days I did not monitor the Pedometer through the day as I did not want to feel like I had a goal, I truly just wanted to know how many steps I walk on an average.  pedometer

Turns out walking a few miles a day is not so hard.  You can accomplish it without even trying.  But now how do I convince my patients to walk a little farther every day?  Seems that my new affinity for walking also came with a few more questions:  If someone has a desk job, how far do they walk everyday?  How accurate is an inexpensive pedometer compared to a more expensive one?  It appears that I have some more research to do in order to give my patients accurate information.  In the meantime, let’s all keep walking! During the next few weeks I will compare different pedometers and let you know my findings!

Written by Karen Browning, PT

Topics: health, fitness