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WHAT’S THE FIRST STEP?

Take some steps, that’s what!  You have probably read by now that a common recommendation is taking 10,000 steps a day.  Most people walk about 3,000-5,000 each day, which doesn’t give us much health benefit.  With our computer-working, tv-watching, long-commuting lifestyles, we sit way too much. It’s turning out to be just as hazardous for our health as smoking.  In fact, a new phrase is making the rounds these days “Sitting is the new smoking“.   Prolonged sitting puts us at risk for heart muscle shrinkage and stiffening, increasing our risk for heart failure.  So you sedentary non-smokers out there, you’re nowhere near in the clear from chronic disease and early death.

There is good news, though!  According to the American Heart Association, people who have been inactive for a long time can reverse the damage by getting moving.

You’re probably thinking “Yeah, right, I’ll just pick right up and start going 10,000 steps a day.  Sure thing”.   Well, I, for one, can’t do that either, so I’m right there with you.  Even better news, actually, is that some of the greatest benefits occur when you go from NOTHING to SOMETHING.  Studies have shown that compared to people doing nothing, doing something, even if it’s less than the recommended daily amounts, can reduce your risk of death by anywhere from 14% to 20%.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, you can start small, such as three 10-minute chunks per day and build up if you can, at your own pace.  Having said that, since I just sat for a long time to write this, I’m going to put my sneakers on and go take a walk.  I hope you do too!

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