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Staying active for better health


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Are you getting the recommended 10,000 steps per day?

Did you know it is recommended to take 10,000 steps per day? Have you started tracking your steps with an activity tracker? You might be surprised how few steps or active minutes you really take each day. If you have a sedentary job and lifestyle, getting anywhere near 10,000 steps can be a challenge. With a few easy and small changes over time you can increase your steps and get to your goal in no time.

Staying active increases healthy aging up to seven times compared to those who are inactive. Those who walk 5,000-10,000 steps per day have shown a reduction of up to 40 percent in metabolic syndrome. It is a critical part of healthy living but the good news is you don't need to compete in an Iron Man or run a marathon to get the health benefits of activity.

If you don't know how many steps you take try tracking them for a week. There are many affordable wristbands to track steps, phone apps or even an old fashion pedometer.

Staying active at the office

Take the stairs: You can add 16 steps per set you take. If work in a high rise try starting with a flight or two each day and taking the elevator for the rest. Work your way up to the whole height and take the elevator on the way down.

Ditch inter-office email: Need to tell your colleague something? Take a quick walk down to their office and let them know in person. You could add 50-100 steps each time you do so.

Get a buddy: Grab a coworker and take a quick walk around the building or block at your lunch or break. This could add up to 2,000 steps in a 15 minute walking break.

Staying active with the kids

Make it fun: Find an activity that doesn't seem like a workout. Paddle boarding, kayaking or a kid-friendly hike are all so fun you won't even realize you've added up to 5,000 or more steps that hour.

Make it an adventure: Try geocaching. It's like going on a hike and treasure hunt all in one. A quick web search will turn up many caches, probably in your own back yard. Grab your smart phone or GPS device and get hunting, the kids will love it.

Do it for a cause: Sign up for a family friendly 5K. Most are hosted by a non-profit or the proceeds go to charity. Even if your kiddos are little they can ride in a stroller or take breaks. This is a fun way to help out a great cause and get more than half of your steps in for the day.

Staying active at home

Rainy day ideas: There are plenty of ways to get steps in at home. Try a small mini-elliptical in your bedroom. These are about the size of two shoe boxes and easily stored in a closet or under a bed when you aren't using it. Watch TV or call an old friend and the steps will fly by.

There's an app for that: There are many step counting apps that make staying active at home easier than ever. Some smartphones can even track your steps without any additional apps. You can set alerts when you need to get more steps in and even set timers for a 10 minute step session.

Clean it up: While it's not the most fun, you are getting a two for one; a clean house and more steps. Set a timer for 30 minutes and sweep, mop or vacuum. Even doing a dusting of all the shelves, frames and knickknacks could gain you a quick 1,000 steps.

Whatever your activity choice, challenge yourself to reach 10,000 steps per day. If you are already hitting that goal aim to do a thousand more each day, your health will thank you for it.

Emily Countryman is a board certified health coach and owner of deal Wellness in Smokey Point/Marysville. She can be reached online at


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