Creating New Habits Around Exercise

Walk While You Shop - Take A Stroll Any WhereThere isn’t one person in my circle of friends who doesn’t ache to lose a few pounds at least once or twice per year. Even the skinny ones among us talk about their dieting and exercise woes. Men, women, teens, seniors, everyone wants to lose weight but we’re either too busy, too tired at the end of the day or too lacking in motivation.

If you fit in any of those categories you’ll need to know that losing weight, changing your food habits and getting more exercise is all a ‘head game’. Sure it’s hard – you need both will power and some sweat equity to decrease your mass – but with time, dedication and effort you get to live in a body you love.

The mental prowess you’ll need to keep yourself motivated is a huge part of the process. If you can use determination, the fun factor, jealousy, or any other emotion to your advantage you’ll be able to tackle the bulge and put the excuses to rest.

Remember we’re not talking about running a marathon every weekend here. You begin with small steps – a little more than your body is currently used to – and as the pounds slip away you’ll take your new love of exercise and your new strengths to tackle more challenges on your path to better health.

This is just as simple as strapping on a pedometer, gauging the amount of steps you take in an average day, and increasing that number as your first fitness goal. Walking really can help you lose the weight that you’re ready to be rid of.

Over the next few days I’ll be adding a “Walk It Off” online course for all our readers. We’ll also be investigating ways for you to keep track of your steps and your fitness goals through More about that later, for now please understand that walking will burn a sufficient amount of calories, which ensures that stored fat on your body will be used for energy.

All that is required to start is a simple pedometer and thirty minutes of energetic walking everyday. If you are very heavy right now you might like to talk to your doctor first or go a little slower for the first few weeks until you gain some strength and stamina.

Let’s get back for a moment to the mind games we play with ourselves and the excuses. Here’s the one I hear the most often. It’s boring! Yes, it can be hard to find joy, fun or entertainment in a 30 minute walk but you’ve got to find a way to do it nonetheless. Take an MP3 pedometer for a walk with you and listen to some music or recorded seminars that you’ve been dying to listen to.

You can also change where you walk. Head off to the mall and some do some walking. You can window shop on the way. Or walk with a friend or neighbor. How about heading to the park, beach boardwalk, or bike path?

Here are a few other suggestions:

A friend of mine was going to Italy in two months. He wanted to be fit when he flew over because he was tired of carrying around an extra 25 pounds so he started walking. You know what else he did? Learned some great conversational Italian on his MP3 pedometer.

If you’re lonely on your walks make a pact with a friend to walk at lunch or every night after dinner together. You can even wager a free meal or task (“…if either of us cancel our walk three times we have to clean the other friend’s house.”) Better still…your dog will never cancel out on a walk with you, so take Fido along.

Stay tuned to for more information and our upcoming course on Walk It Off.

Add Some Steps to Your Day!

I know, I know. 10,000 steps a day to maintain your physical condition or 15,000 steps a day to lose weight and firm up sounds like a lot at first, but strap on a pedometer and go about your day and you’d be surprised how many steps you actually take even when you’re not trying.

Once you’ve counted and measured the steps you already take with a pedometer, here are some ways to add more steps to your day…Strap on a pedometer and get moving. How to add steps to your day.

  • Hand deliver office memos or walk down the hall to a co-worker’s office.
  • Take a lover’s walk, in the park, even if it’s raining.
  • Take the stairs – even if this means you need to get off the elevator a few floors early.
  • Walk up the escalator in malls and subways.
  • Park farther from the office, the grocery store, or the shopping mall.
  • Walk the kids to school instead of driving them.
  • Take the dog for a walk instead of just letting him outside the back door.
  • Take your designated breaks at work and walk around the building or city block as many times as time allows.
  • Do your grocery shopping in the order you have items listed, instead of going aisle-by-aisle.
  • Take the kids to the park and either run around with them or walk laps around the play area while they play on the swings and slides.

By adding steps to your day you are essentially increasing your level of fitness and burning more calories. Every little bit moves you closer to your goal whether it be a fitness goal or a weight loss goal.

The American Medical Association states that by increasing activity, you will also:

  1. Increase stamina.
  2. Stimulate weight loss.
  3. Lower blood cholesterol.
  4. Lower blood pressure.
  5. Improve self image.
  6. Improve mood.
  7. Enhance quality of life.

And it that’s not enough to get you moving more with your pedometer, the AMA also says you will:

  1. Sleep better.
  2. Strengthen your heart and lungs.
  3. Decrease stress levels and the effects of stress.
  4. Increase your energy.
  5. Maintain appropriate weight.
  6. Lower triglycerides.
  7. Control blood sugar levels (and risks of diabetes).
  8. Feel better.
  9. Reduce feelings of depression and anxiety.
  10. Improve productivity in all areas of your life.
  11. Build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints.
  12. Increase muscle tone.
  13. Reduce risk of dying prematurely.

Really? It’s a win/win situation. A pedometer strapped onto your waist inspiring you to move around more often and in no time you’ll be looking better, feeling better, plus all the benefits above.

Your new life begins today! A healthier, longer, and no doubt happier, life!

Pedometer Basics

Although they’ve been around for decades I am often asked by people I meet on my walks about the gadget I have strapped to my waist. It doesn’t seem to matter which country or city I’m walking in – the device and the concept behind the pedometer is not as well known as you’d think. If you’ve landed here because you want to know what a pedometer is and why you’d want one, then this article is just right for you. Pedometers are inexpensive tools that count your steps and keep you motivated in an exercise regime. They are, in effect, a fitness and weight loss tool.

The pedometer is a small – simple or complex – electronic device. The basic function of this device is to track and record how many steps you take throughout the day and over time. Most models also convert the steps into the number of miles walked, number of calories burned and, if you’re a Weight Watchers’ fan, the number of activity points you’ve earned. The more advanced pedometers store the data so you can track your progress from month to month and some even connect to your computer via a USB port so you can track your progress through software and online services.

On a personal level, the pedometer keeps you motivated to take more walks, park a little further from your destination, be more willing to climb the stairs, and always competing against your own personal best.

You’re not alone in finding that with a pedometer hanging from your waist you’ll be walking more. A study performed by the University of Minnesota had clear results that people wearing pedometers walk more, on average, than people not wearing them. The study split people into two groups. Both groups were encouraged in the same manner to walk each day – the members of one group were given pedometers, the others were not.

The members who had a pedometer increased their steps approximately 2100 per day – the equivalent to 20 minutes of steady walking or a 30% increase in their average routine. The members without a pedometer walked a little more than half as many blocks as the first group.

This isn’t just a short term anomaly. People who own and use a pedometer tend to stick to a walking routine longer as well.

Once you have your pedometer, set daily and weekly goals to get the most use out of it. Read other articles on to learn how to set your baseline step rate and simple ways to increase the number of steps you take each day.

Doing your best to ignore the fact that you’re wearing a pedometer, carry on your normal routine for a few days to a week. Don’¬ít aim for a certain number of steps per day during this time or you will be defeating the exercise of increasing your step rate. You want to measure how many steps you’d normally take in a normal day, seven days a week, work days and weekends.

Next you’ll want to calculate the steps you took and make a goal to take 500 to 1000 steps more each day. Five hundred more steps is nothing more than taking a walk around your city block, parking at the other end of the parking lot, getting off the bus or subway one stop early, or walking in place while watching a 30 minute sitcom on television at the end of the day. Every week assess your progress and keep working up to a minimum of 10,000 steps per day. If you are participating in a challenge to lose weight you’ll want to increase your daily steps to 15,000 per day.

Walking is one of the easiest ways to increase your exercise and a pedometer helps you to keep track of your progress and motivate you to keep at it.