Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Walk This Way: Use a Pedometer to Track Your Steps

Walk This Way: Use a Pedometer to Track Your Steps

For many people over 50, exercise is a dirty word, but there’s no denying how beneficial it can be for long-term health. If you don’t care to join a gym, play a sport or invest in exercise equipment, here’s some good news: one of the best exercises around—walking—is “free” and something you already do. You may need to ratchet up your “reps” a bit to get maximum health value, but you already own the equipment you need to get started: your feet.

Not convinced? Maybe the findings of a study published in early 2011 in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences will get you off the fence. Psychologists found regular walking can improve memory by expanding the size of the hippocampus, a part of the brain that starts to atrophy and shrink around age 55 or 60.

That should get you walking! Your initial questions about embarking on walking program will probably be how far you need to go and how to best track your progress. Regarding the former, Lori Michiel, NASM-CPT, president and founder of Fifty Plus Fitness™, suggests 10,000 steps a day.

Lori points out that as you age, your joints tend to tighten up, and if you lead a sedentary lifestyle, you’re not doing anything to combat that process. “The motion is the lotion,” she says, noting that exercise helps keep joints lubricated and healthy.

How do you count your steps? A pedometer is a great solution. These handy devices, which clip on to your waistband, range from simple to complex, but their function is the same: keeping count of every step you take.

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