One challenge for readers, 1 million steps for better health
BY JEANNE MILLSAP Correspondent October 8, 2013 1:36PM
Dr. Lianne Holloway is challenging readers to take 1 million steps toward better health. | Supplied photo
Benefits of walking
Boosts the mood
Lowers the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol and Type 2 diabetes
Increases number of calories the body burns
Slows memory decline
Lowers Alzheimer’s risk
Gives you opportunities to actively socialize with friends and family
Sources: www.arthritistoday.org and www.niddk.nih.gov.
Updated: November 10, 2013 6:18AM
Walking a million steps may sound like a lot, but it’s definitely manageable when broken down to a day-by-day venture, according to Morris Hospital family physician and fitness buff Dr. Lianne Holloway.
Walking 10,000 steps per day for 100 days amounts to 1 million steps, and all one needs to get there and track it are a pedometer and a good pair of walking shoes.
Holloway began her own Million Step Challenge on Oct. 1, and she’s throwing down the gauntlet to anyone looking to get or keep fit to join her. It’s an individual challenge, she said, that participants can begin at any time. Just get a pedometer and start walking.
People get in a surprising number of steps in their everyday lives already, she said, and making some extra trips around the neighborhood, on a walking path, while shopping or in a gym can make up the difference.
“People who are on their feet a lot might walk around 7,000 steps a day without doing any extra walking,” Holloway said. “For those who are sedentary, like people who have a desk job, they might get in 2,000 steps each day. I find that if I do about three extra miles walking or running a day, I can get it in.”
Holloway began the challenge herself as a way to prepare for the upcoming holiday season, with its rich and sometimes high-calorie foods. She’s an avid runner who has participated in many 5K and 10K races but said sometimes indulging in the winter months gets the best of her. She said the extra walking before the season should put her in a good position to be able to indulge a bit.
“It’s another way for me to make myself get in more exercise than I do,” she said. “I do tend to be sedentary on the days when I don’t run.”
Ten thousand steps a day is about five miles, she said, and is good for the heart and lungs, building muscles, better cognitive function, and keeping joints more limb so one has fewer aches and pains.
“It’s what we were meant to do,” she said of walking and other activity. “We evolved from people who were on the move. They were hunter-gatherers, and their bodies were constantly in motion throughout the day.”
Holloway said that those who are not fit or who don’t get much exercise should take the challenge slowly.
“Take baby steps,” she said. “Don’t start with 10,000 steps the first day. Don’t try to do as much as you could do when you were younger. Don’t take on too much too fast.”
For those who need to work up to the challenge, she recommends beginning by putting on a pedometer and going about a normal day, just to get an idea how many steps are taken in one day, then increasing those steps slowly, perhaps adding 10 percent a week. It’s also important to get approval from a physician before beginning any new exercise program, she said.
With the crisp fall weather, walking is the perfect exercise right now for the mind and the body.
“Just enjoy the beauty of nature and get yourself away from the TV screen and the news and the computer,” she said. “We are a part of nature, and it’s important not to isolate ourselves from that too much.”
Holloway said ways to get in those extra steps include walking your dog or someone else’s dog, walking with the grandchildren, parking far away from the door of your destination, or meeting a friend for coffee then walking with him or her afterward. She invites anyone wanting to do The Million Step Challenge to join her on the “Dr. Lianne Holloway in Seneca, IL” page on Facebook.