Walking is one of the easiest and least expensive forms of exercise there is. It can be done almost anywhere, in any weather, provided you plan ahead and put safety first.

The US Surgeon General’s recommendation is that adults should take 10,000 steps per day to maintain health and fitness. The trouble is, how can you possibly count them?

Many people think they have to do the 10,000 steps in 1 or 2 dedicated walking sessions of a couple of miles at a time, but this is not the case at all.

ALL of the steps you take each day can add up to 10,000 or more depending on how active your lifestyle is.

The best way to keep track of all your steps is with a reliable pedometer. There are different kinds, from clip-ons at your belt or on your shoe, to ones you wear around your neck or put in your pocket. They all function essentially the same, counting your steps throughout the day.

Distance is not a great guide to your goal because we all have different lengths of stride. A short person might cover only a distance of 3.5 miles, while a taller person with longer legs and therefore a bigger stride might cover 5 miles easily.

Going for Your Goal

All your steps can all add up to your goal of 10,000 steps. Using a pedometer helps you keep track easily. It can also remind you to walk more.

For example, a quick glance at your pedometer toward the end of your workday day show that you need more steps to meet your goal. Walk home, get off a stop earlier or later on your bus, or walk after dinner, in order to meet your goal.

Using a walking log or journal and your pedometer will help you keep track of your steps, which will keep you motivated.

So, too, will finding a range of ways to add more steps to your day. The stairs count both going up and coming down. Striding through the supermarket or milling around the mall will also count.

The pedometer will not keep track of your speed, which you should vary from time to time, but it will help you stay motivated towards your goal and proud of all your efforts to get fitter with a structured walking program.