Monday, August 20, 2012

How Many Steps Do You Take?

My company is participating in the Global Corporate Challenge, a contest in which teams of seven are tracking the steps that they walk every day for a few months. Given that I develop corporate education for a large technology company, I am sitting at my computer or in meetings all day. The benefit of the program has been to open my eyes to how few steps I typically take on a day where I don't go for a run.

The surgeon general recommends that people walk 10,000 steps per day in order to stay healthy. This Livestrong article states that:
People who take fewer than 5,000 steps are considered to be sedentary or inactive. Those who take 5,000 to 7,499 steps daily have a low active lifestyle. Somewhat active people usually take 7,500 to 9,999 steps per day. People considered to be active take 10,000 or more steps per day.
I consider myself an active person, but on days I don't run, I might only walk 4,000 steps at most. If I take the dog for a walk, we're still only looking at 7-8 K. I honestly thought that I would be taking more steps than that! The eye-opening point - and i'm sure why corporations are supporting the program - is that walking the recommended amount of steps per day is difficult to do.

Now combine a running plan into it and things get much easier. It's hard to say how accurate the relatively inexpensive GCC pedometers are, but I've found that a good 4-5 mile run would be around 8,000 steps. On days with longer runs, I find myself racking up a good 30K steps by the time I ease into bed. Unfortunately, the GCC coinsided with my break from running while I healed up my knee from the Burlington Marathon, but once I started running regularly again I've been able to up my daily step average to just under 11,000 a day.

Does walking count as cross-training for running? I'm not sure that it would for a serious runner, but I've found it to be both helpful and relaxing. In addition, during my layoff I found walking to be low-impact enough to stay healthy but active and close enough to running that it helped me figure out how my knee was doing. I plan on continuing to walk as much as I can during the day, but also as and end in and of itself on days when i'm not running.  

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