Counting your steps to stay healthy

Posted: Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Thanks to a grant from the State of Alaska Central Peninsula General Hospital (CPGH) is coordinating a community-walking program to get people over age 18 more active on a regular basis. The 10,000 Step Program got off to a striding start in September with 125 community members signing on, according to Jill Rife, CPGH Registered Nurse and program coordinator. "We use pedometers as a motivational tool so participants can count every step that they take through out the day," Rife told the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce last week.

The goal is for each person in the program to walk 10,000 steps every day, which is equivalent to the U.S. Surgeon General's recommendation for 30 or more minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on most days of the week. The fitness program, by increasing physical activity can reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, and some forms of cancer. Of the 125 people that signed up in September, 84% women and 16% men, 29% were overweight, and 42% fell into the obese weight category. "We'll be keeping some general statistics such as weight, blood pressure, body mass index, and activity progression such as steps per day through until May next year, and we'll be comparing that data to data gathered nationally," said Rife.

CPGH Administrator David Gilbreath has agreed to fund additional participants to broaden the program for the local community. Another 125 will be eligible to register for the 10,000-step program in November. People who sign up will be asked to fill out a simple questionnaire, receive a pedometer to track their daily steps, and be asked to record and report data to CPGH weekly. Additionally, CPGH is scheduling some special events to encourage the participants to increase their activity, "We'll have walking events that they can participate and in the spring we'll schedule a beach walk and hope to end with a walk at Tsalteshi Trails to introduce people the trail systems there behind Skyview High School." Added Rife.

On average Americans take about 2,000 to 4,000 steps a day. The 10,000 steps a day is a guideline based on some preliminary research, "Some participants may never reach 10,000 steps a day, and some of them already started out at over 12,000 steps a day, the idea is to keep people accountable which is a great motivator," said Rife. For more information on the date to register for the 10,000-step program go to www.cpgh.org or call Jill Rife at 262-4404.



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