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Healthy Steps: Get 30 Minutes of Walking

10,000 steps daily helps midlife women lose weight
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Getting the Figure continued...

The average sedentary person walks 2,000-3,000 steps per day.

In this study, women walking:

  • Less than 6,000 steps had a BMI of 29, 44% body fat, a 37-inch waist, 42-inch hips, and a 0.87 waist-to-hip ratio.
  • 6,000 to 10,000 steps had a BMI of 26, 35% body fat, a 32-inch waist, 40-inch hips, and a 0.80 waist-to-hip ratio.
  • 10,000 steps or more had a BMI of 23, 26% body fat, a 29-inch waist, 29-inch hips, and a 0.75 waist-to-hip ratio.

"Those who walked less had more total fat, and more centrally located fat," Thompson writes. The health implications (heart disease and type 2 diabetes) caused by this excess fat make her study important, she adds.

At least 30 minutes of exercise daily is advised, Thompson notes. And walking has become increasingly popular among women between 45 and 54 years old. "Clearly, walking is an important means for American adults, and particularly women in their middle and older years."

Walking 10,000 steps is doable in 30 minutes' time, she adds. It can have the added benefit of lowering blood pressure and blood sugar.

Her study does not show whether walking has similar effects for men -- or for women in other age or ethnic groups, since all were white women between 45 and 60 years old, she says. However, women in her study had diverse body compositions.

A few ideas to help you get walking:

  • Get a dog (so you'll have a good excuse to walk).
  • Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Park farther from the mall or the office.
  • Take walking breaks during the work day.
  • After work, take a fast walk around your neighborhood, to get extra steps.
  • Get that step bench out of the closet and step-walk to your favorite TV show.

Soon enough, you'll be on top of that weight loss problem.

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