Keen to get fit, but too busy for the gym? I found a simple way to make daily activities your fitness regime.
I used to be a runner – marathons, road races, cross country. Then I had a double heart bypass, my knees gave up, and I got too busy. Familiar story? But I noticed that walking only a couple of miles (which I used to take in my stride) was making me tired, so I looked for a fitness regime that would be easy to build into my daily activities.
I read somewhere that 2,000 steps equals one mile, and that 10 steps on the stairs equals 38 on the ground. Call it 40, and that makes 500 stair steps to the mile. Let’s break it down into easy units that encourage you to walk a bit more.
The daily target is 4-5 miles. That’s 8,000 to 10,000 steps on the level, and it’s easier than you might think. Every time you go up a 10 step staircase, count it as 40 steps. Most of us climb 10 step staircases without giving it a thought. But now you can include it in your exercise regime, which could look like this:
- 6 trips up the stairs counts as (roughly) 240 steps.
- Park your car 1/5 of a mile from your destination – that gives you 400 steps each way (800 steps)
- Waiting on the platform for your train, walk 20 steps, then back. Do that 4 times (160 steps)
- In the supermarket there might be 10 aisles. Walk the length of each twice. If each aisle is 25 steps long, that gives you 500 steps.
- If your car is parked 100 steps from the check out, that adds 200 steps
Adding in the incidental steps between things, that makes about one mile. At lunch time, it’s a good idea to walk for 20 minutes. That’s another mile. And when you get home from work, go for a 40 minute walk.
The total so far is 4 miles. Find your own way of measuring the walking you do during the day, without being too precise about it. Think in terms of (say) 20 step units. So a 10-step stair climb is 2 units, a supermarket aisle might be one unit, and so on. 100 units to the mile.
So if you are looking for a handy name for these units, you could call them KPs, to stand for Kinetic Pennies (as well as my name!) because, like pennies, they are 1/100. Add up your KPs and you’ll start getting competitive about how many you have notched up each day. Before you know it, you’ll be much fitter!