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Walk Away the Pounds Without Breaking a Sweat

Move closer to fitness just by stepping up your daily routine

Taking extra steps can take off weight

But can these extra steps really help people walk away the pounds, even if they're not breaking a sweat?

"Yes, they can," says Richard Cotton, an exercise physiologist and spokesman for the American Council on Exercise. "Because in comparison to what they've been doing in the past, it quite possibly can create a caloric deficit -- as long as they don't increase their eating."

For example, he says, "if adding steps allows you to burn an extra 300 calories a day, every 10 to 15 days, that's a pound."

Even expending an extra 100 calories a day -- the equivalent of walking one mile or 2,000 steps -- will take 10 pounds off in a year, says Lisa Cooper, fitness director of the Little Rock Athletic Club in Little Rock, Ark.

Adding steps to your life brings other health benefits as well, according to new research coming in.

"You actually lose fat around your middle," says Hill. And as your waist circumference decreases, he says, so does your risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or heart disease.

"But the biggest thing that I keep hearing over and over is just, 'I feel better,' " Hill says.

Ready to start feeling better yourself? Here are some tips from Colorado on the Move on how to fit more steps into your daily life, at home, at work, or on the town:

At Home:

 

  • Take an after-dinner walk with your family.
  • Walk your dog -- or your neighbor's dog.
  • Walk to a neighbor or friend's house instead of calling.
  • When you're on the phone, walk while you talk.
  • Instead of using the remote, walk to the television to change the channel. Better yet, turn off the TV and do something active.
  • Walk around your house during TV commercials.
  • Get up and move around once every 30 minutes.
  • Plan active weekends (long walks, scenic hikes, playing in the park).
  • Take a walk and pick up litter in your neighborhood or in a park.

 

At Work

 

  • Get off the bus a few stops earlier, and walk farther to work. If you drive, park farther away.
  • Take several 10-minute walks during your workday.
  • Walk to restrooms, water fountains, or copy machines on a different floor.
  • Take a longer route to a meeting.
  • Walk a few laps on your floor during breaks, or go out and walk around the block.
  • Walk to a colleague's office rather than calling or sending email.
  • Take the stairs.
  • Start a break-time walking club with your co-workers.
  • Walk while using a speakerphone or cordless phone.
  • Try to get up and move at least once every 30 minutes.

 

On the Town

 

  • Park at the outer edges of store parking lots.
  • Return grocery carts to the store instead of leaving them in parking-lot corrals.
  • Take the stairs instead of elevators and escalators.
  • Walk, don't drive, for trips less than one mile.
  • Walk at the airport while waiting for your plane, and avoid the people-movers.
  • Take several trips to unload groceries from your car.
  • Bypass restaurant drive-throughs and walk inside instead.
  • Plan active vacations.

 

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Reviewed on August 24, 2005

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