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Walk it off! Strategies to rack up more steps, burn more calories

By Tracy Teare
Health.com
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(Health.comexternal link) -- Having trouble reaching the recommended 10,000 steps per day? It's easy to rack 'em up (especially with the help of a pedometer) if you add just 10 to 20 percent more steps each week. Try these simple tips from walking expert Mark Fenton, author of "Pedometer Walking" -- and you'll burn more calories without ever setting foot in the gym.

1. Add short walks whenever you can. Park your car a block away, get off the subway or bus a stop early, walk to the next post office drop box, or take a lap around the park on the way home. 600 steps per 5 minutes

2. Buy a new or used treadmill and vow to only watch TV while you walk. (One episode of "House," and your numbers will really soar.) 7,800 steps per hour

3. Join an active group. Meet with fellow dog owners to walk your mutts, or link up with a local running or hiking group. (Need help? Visit Health.com/girlsgottamoveexternal link.) 7,800 steps per hour

4. Take an extra lap around the mall before you shop. (Bonus: You'll get to scout all the best sales.) 1,200 steps per 10 minutes

5. Be an active volunteer. Become a guide at your local art museum or at the zoo, or start taking part in your neighborhood watch. 4,000 to 6,000 steps per hour

6. Convert downtime to walking time. During your daughter's tennis lesson, walk to town hall to pay your taxes or do laps on the adjacent track. 3,900 steps per 30 minutes

7. Eliminate one trip -- car, bus, or subway -- per week; walk or bike instead. Work up to replacing one trip per day. 3,600 steps per 30 minutes; count 110 steps per minute of pedaling

8. Plan an active getaway. On a hiking trip in the mountains, for example, you can rack up a load of steps (and you won't have to deal with any crowds). 8,000 steps per hour

9. Set up a walking school bus if you live close enough to a school. Shuttle neighborhood children there or back a few times a week. 2,400 steps per 20-minute trip


Copyright 2006 HEALTH Magazine. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Small changes can mean big results when adding steps to your day.

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