Lose weight week: Get healthy, one step at a time

This week I’ll present simple tips to lose weight in my At Home Fitness blogs. Today, here’s a look at how adding the number of steps you take in a day can help you lose weight.

Fitness needs to be a lifestyle, not something you schedule into your life a few hours a week.
In one of the most interesting studies I’ve come across dealing with exercise, researchers at the University of South Carolina estimated that women who are active about 75 percent of the day – doing things like walking to the store, gardening, cooking -expend more energy than those who work out for an hour a day, but are inactive the rest of the time (ie: sit at a computer, or in front of the TV).
That may come as a bit of surprise to some, but it should tell us that we need to be as active as possible throughout the entire day.
Being fit is not something that should be scheduled in for an hour workout slot and then forgotten about the rest of the time.
If you do have a busy office job that keeps you in front of a desk, try to get up and walk on your break and stay moving more when you’re not on the clock.
Rather than setting a goal of exercising for an hour a few times a week, many experts say the focus should be on taking as many steps per day as you can.
The number 10,000 has been set as the optimum steps you should take each day. That’s the level at which people burn enough calories to reduce the risk of heart attack and obesity.
People living inactive lives take about 2,000 or fewer steps, while many people who consider themselves active, but are stuck behind a desk, may only take about 3,000-4,000.
Go to a fitness store and buy a pedometer to keep track of your steps.
Ideally, experts say to exercise and try to also take as many steps as you can while doing other activities during the day.
“Steps” can be converted to other activities, with the goal always being to keep moving – and reach those 10,000 steps.
We had a “steps” competition where I work recently in which a conversion chart was used to calculate steps. For instance, high impact aerobics had a conversion number of 203, so multiply 203 X the number of minutes you do the aerobics for a “steps” count.
Some other common conversion numbers to multiply X the number of minutes are: basketball game (230), bicycling stationary (203), running at 8 mph or 7:30 minute-mile pace outside or on a treadmill (391), weeding the garden (131), playing softball (145) and vigorous weightlifting (174).
Here are some more conversion numbers: elliptical trainer (203), golfing without a cart (131), golfing with a cart (101), hiking general (172), hiking with a 10-20 lb. load (217), light housework (72), heavy housework like mopping or scrubbing (108), jumping rope fast (348), jumping rope moderate (290), stair climbing vigorous (434), wash the car (87), yoga (72) and pilates (101).
So just to re-iterate, if you wash the car for 30 minutes, multiply it by 87 for your converted effort in steps, which is 2,610.
This should give you a better idea what’s involved with reaching 10,000 steps in a day.
Bottom line is good health and weight loss is a lot closer and easier than you might have thought. It can be reached one step at a time.

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at aaron@athomefitness.com