If you are feeling a bit remorseful today due to the overindulgence the recent holiday feasting, don’t fret! You may be encountering what I call the “tight-jeans syndrome” but again I want to stress to you: do not worry. Why? Because today is when you end the guilt caused by overeating as you begin focusing on something else now: increasing your daily steps. Doing this will not only allow you to walk off those excess pounds that you may have acquired over the last few days, but will help those jeans fit a bit better as well.
Why do I suggest increasing your daily steps? Well, because it’s becoming more common for the typical sedentary individual to average about 1,000 to 3,000 steps per day. According to the experts, that is simply not enough daily steps. In fact, research shows that we should walk 10,000 steps per day to burn about 20 percent of our caloric intake through physical activity. So your new goal should be to increase your daily steps as you focus on the ultimate goal of 10,000 steps per day, or the equivalent of about 5 miles per day. Don’t worry about achieving this new goal immediately, the idea is to simply work towards it.
The single best tool for taking off weight is exercise, so increasing your daily steps will allow you to remedy the “tight-jeans syndrome” that often follows a holiday eating splurge. Walking is a weight-bearing exercise which not only works to take off excess weight but it allows you to keep the weight off.
Personally, I feel it is one of the simplest exercises that I know of. And for those of you who will be taking holiday shopping trips, remember the steps taken inside the mall count just as much as those steps taken outdoors in the parking lot… a step is a step, no matter where it’s taken!
So, how to achieve the ultimate goal of 10,000 steps per day? For most people, it’s easiest to increase the average daily steps each week by 500 per day until you can easily average 10,000 per day. For example: if you are current averaging 3,000 steps per day, your new goal for one complete week is 3,500 each day. For the second week, your goal will be 4,000 steps per day. You can then continue to increase by 500 steps per day /each week and you should be averaging 10,000 steps by the end of 14 weeks.
How do you know how many steps you are currently taking each day? A pedometer is the perfect tool to wear which will allow you to track each and every step you take. All you have to do is put on the pedometer when you get up in the morning and wear it until bed time. Do this for a couple days and keep note of the number. You might be surprised how many – or how few- steps you actually take each day.
Here are some basic ideas on ways to increase your daily steps, but please feel free to use your own imagination to come up with your own list:
- Walk your dog
- Take a walk at lunch
- Walk after dinner with a loved one
- Use the stairs instead of the elevator
- Park in the furthest parking space
- Get rid of the remote control and get up to change the television channel
- Plan a walking meeting at work
Before long you will notice that your daily steps are increasing and your waist size is decreasing, thus allowing the “tight-jeans syndrome” to be completely cured!
What are you doing to increase your steps during the holiday season?
Photo credit: Anders Printz