Monday, March 5, 2012

Dr. Charleston, MD, BSA

I have noticed that several of my blogging friends complain about their weight and how much they need to lose.  Visions of grueling hours at the gym come immediately to mind.  Not to worry friends, Dr. Charleston is here to help.

This is actually real advice, gained from recent experience with writing a grant and developing a program for the local Arboretum called Healthy Trails.  It turns out that maintaining your weight isn't nearly as big a deal as previously thought.  All you have to do is walk.

Taking 10,000 steps a day is all that is required for the average person to maintain their weight.  A combination of 10,000 steps a day and a good diet and you will lose weight.  There's also the added benefit of a 57% reduction in your chance of a heart attack, and a 67% reduction in your chance of developing diabetes.  Don't believe me?  Google 10,000 steps and see what you get.

Now, before you shy away from the astronomical sum of 10,000 steps, you should know that the average office worker takes between 4,000-5,000 steps a day in their everyday activities.  Adding another 5,000 steps only requires about an additional 30-minutes of walking each day. 

Here's the deal.  For whatever reason, most people react negatively to the thought of walking a prescribed number of miles or minutes each day.  Perhaps it's because you think you have to do it all within a specific block of time.  But research shows that you don't have to do all of your exercise at once, in fact, it's actually better for you to do it over the period of an entire day.

Here's what you do.  Buy yourself a pedometer.  You can get one cheap most anywhere.  Put the pedometer on first thing in the morning and don't take it off until you go to bed at night.  You can keep track of how many steps you take during the day as you work towards your goal of 10,000.  You will find that you will begin to take extra steps, take the stairs, walk the long way back to the office at lunch, walk around the block in the evening, do a bunch of little things to reach your 10,000 step goal.  Soon, these little things become habit and you will begin living a healthy lifestyle of walking.

Don't try to eat the whole elephant.  If you're healthy and 10,000 steps is no big deal, go for 20,000.  If 10,000 steps is a challenge, start small and work your way up.  The thing is, get the pedometer.  Being able to refer to it throughout the day is an incredible incentive and actually fun.

Rx 

Dr. Charleston, MD, BSA

16 comments:

  1. "For whatever reason, most people react negatively to the thought of walking a prescribed number of miles or minutes each day."

    So true. I live downtown in a small town. Local businesses are constantly trying to convince the public that it's convenient to park and shop downtown, even if you have to park a block or two from the store you're visiting.

    Wal-Mart (about 2 miles from downtown) doesn't have that problem. Their parking lot is at least 2 or 3 city blocks long. But if the only parking space is at the opposite end of the parking lot from the store, John Q. Public will think "See, there's Wal-Mart, right across the lot. Isn't this convenient?"

    And yet the same John Q. Public will drive downtown, see that he will have to park two blocks from the store he wanted to go to, and think "Ugh! I don't want to walk 2 blocks. I'll just go to Wal-Mart."

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  2. I know what you're saying is absolutely true. Funny thing is, I used to do a tremendous amount of walking. One time, when the buses were on strike, I decided to walk to work rather than waste money on a cab. It was about five and a half miles from my parents' house to Baltimore City Hospital. No problem. I got up extra early and started walking. But when I got there, the docs said they really wanted me to work at Johns Hopkins that day, so I walked THERE. At least another six miles farther. Thought nothing of it. Walked everywhere in those days. Now, not so much. On weekends, we go out and about, but not much during the week. But I'll try to do better. Really. I will. The perimeter of our neighborhood is just over a mile. Surely, I can do THAT much every day, right? Right. (I have always wanted a pedometer...)

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  3. If I go walking while carrying my camera, that counts as walking AND lifting weights, correct?

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  4. so? walking on a treadmill, 10,000 steps is about how long time wise?

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  5. After reading what Tom said you know I have noticed that people driving into the local Walmarts here where I live will do their best to find a parking spot as close to the entrances as possible.

    There might be a single parking space in the middle of a group of cars and people seem almost desperate to squeeze their car into that one space instead of parking a little further away from the doors where there is plenty of empty spots.

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  6. The parking phenomena that Tom described was the death of downtown all across the country. Women, in particular, will circle a parking lot to save walking 100'. The thing that ticks me off about it the most is the growing popularity of "open air" malls where people will gladly park 1000' feet away from the store.

    Peeper... only if you hold it out in front of you until you feel the burn.

    Granny... don't know. Depends on how fast you walk. put on that pedometer and find out.

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  7. great post. and totally on!! i am an avid walker and frequently use the pedometer. it's small yet mighty!

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  8. Can't believe no one's asked what the BSA stands for.

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  9. I wondered about it, but I just figured it stood for Bullshitters Anonymous. Then again, it could also be Bachelor of Skinny Arts.

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    1. Danged close Ziva... how about Bull Shit Artist!

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  10. Are there advanced pedometers available that keep track of how many burgers, sausage and egg mcmuffins and elephants that you eat?

    I'd also like to know whether my steps, football and other sporting activites cancel out the elephants.

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    1. Yes, in fact, there is an app for that. It turns your personal phone/computing/reading device into a virtual training facility that keeps track of your pulse, blood pressure, caloric intake and assorted scatological functions. Most people use it with the sound turned off but in your case... well

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  11. I go to the gym and run on the treadmill and do some rowing. Around here, it's too hot to walk outside during the day and it is probably life-shortening as well with all the traffic and fumes.

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  12. Pedometer? Why bring children into it?

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