2013 was a pretty good year when it came to my fitness goals. Not 100% success, but not 0% or 25% or even 50% either. By increasing my daily steps substantially, I got my cholesterol levels down into the healthiest range it has ever been. That alone was a triumph.
Thanks to the FitBit Zip—which I clip to my bra so I don’t lose it as has happened with both my daughter and granddaughter who lost their trackers that were clipped to their waistbands—and the FitBit app on my iPhone, I can keep an eye on the number of steps I’ve taken, the distance traveled, and the calories burned. There are other, more expensive, trackers (both from FitBit and other providers) that also monitor stairs climbed and/or sleep patterns. I’ve tried out a couple of them. I am happiest with the Zip because it doesn’t need charged every four to seven days. It runs for months on a watch battery.
I have loved hearing from readers of my blog and Facebook who said that because of my efforts using the Zip, they are now tracking their steps too and exercising more. I love having family members and friends in my app so we can cheer and encourage one another and, if necessary, give them a virtual kick in the behind.
It’s well documented that America has an obesity problem as well as a Type 2 Diabetes problem. Walking enough steps every day can make a dent in those health problems. In case you don’t know, the number of steps per day that seems to be the “magic number” is 10,000. I don’t make that goal every day, especially when on a deadline crunch, but I definitely try to move more than I used to. It wasn’t until I averaged 70,000 steps per week that I saw the real health benefits.
The FitBit blog recently shared some walking statistics that I thought worth passing along to my readers.
- More than 145 million adults now include walking as part of a physically active lifestyle.
- More than 6 in 10 people walk for transportation or for fun, relaxation, or exercise, or for activities such as walking the dog.
- The percentage of people who report walking at least once for 10 minutes or more in the previous week rose from 56% (2005) to 62% (2010).
- Physical activity such as walking can help improve health even without weight loss.
- People who are physically active live longer and have a lower risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, and some cancers.
- Aerobic activities like brisk walking, running, swimming and bicycling make you breathe harder and make your heart and blood vessels healthier.
- Walking is the most accessible physical activity, and the most popular.
- [color-box]The average Australian takes 9,695 steps per day, the average Japanese 7,168, and the average Swiss 9,650, while the average American takes only 5,117 steps per day.[/color-box]
- The average British child takes 9-19% more daily steps than the average American child.
- Walking is so common that we tend to forget about it. But it’s extremely important; something that needs to be nurtured, protected and encouraged.
- It would take a person walking nonstop approximately 347 days to walk around the world.
- The average pair of tennis shoes will last 500 miles of walking.
- A study from 2000 reported that regular walking saves $330 a year in health care costs.
- An average city block is about 200 steps.
Okay, let’s get up and move!
Walking photo courtesy of Gustavo Veríssimo via Flikr