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Step up to a Healthier You with the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit

Physical Activity

Introducing the Component of Endurance in Physical Activity

Endurance activities

an older woman walkign in the summer4-7 days a week
Endurance activities are ones that require large muscle groups moving in a repeated motion over and over again: walking, cycling, swimming, cross country skiing. These activities strengthen your heart, lungs and circulatory system.

The total amount of light physical activity you should aim for throughout the day is 60 minutes. And this total can be reached by adding up 10 minutes of activity at a time. So if walking is the activity for you try going for a few 10 minute walks throughout the day.

Safety

With any activity at any level, it’s always a good idea to start slowly to allow your body to get warmed up. As you start to move, your heart rate will start to increase as it pumps blood to your muscles preparing them for some work.

After five or 10 minutes of warming up you can start to increase your intensity. Again, intensity is very subjective. What is easy for one person [light intensity] may be challenging for another [moderate intensity].

Monitoring your heart rate is a great way to make sure you aren’t overdoing it. The simplest way to do this is to take the Talk Test.

The talk test is a simple way to measure relative intensity. If you’re doing moderate-intensity activity you can talk, but not sing, during the activity. If you’re doing vigorous-intensity activity, you will not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.

Pedometers

What is a Pedometer?
A pedometer is a simple device worn on your hip that counts the number of steps you take. There is a small weighted lever arm suspended with a spring inside the pedometer that goes up and down as you walk. The up and down motion opens and closes an electrical circuit. When your foot strikes the ground, the lever arm makes an electrical contact and this is recorded as a step.

 

How do You Use Them?
Wear the pedometer clipped to your waistband or belt, mid-way between your belly button and your hip, in line with your knee. Attach the strap to a belt loop or pocket to avoid accidentally losing or dropping the pedometer. The pedometer must remain upright to record correctly. It will not record when open, so keep the pedometer closed – unless you are checking your steps.

To make sure you have the pedometer in the right spot, press RESET to return the counter to zero, and then do a trial 20-step count. If the pedometer is not reading between 19 and 21 steps, try a different position along your waist until you find the one that is best for you. Wear the pedometer all day long. Every step counts towards better health!

Tracking Your Steps

Once you have figured out to use the pedometer start keeping track of your daily steps. Adults should aim for 10,000 steps per day and older adults should aim for 6,000 – 7,000 steps per day.

Sample “Walking with a Pedometer” Program:

Get Started – Find your average

  • Wear the pedometer for a week and record steps daily.
  • At the end of the first week, add up all your steps for the week and divide by seven to calculate your average [e.g. 6,000 steps].

Build Up – Increase your daily steps

  • Each week, set a goal of increasing your daily steps by 500 steps a day [e.g. week 2 – 6,500 steps/day; week 3 – 7,000 steps/day; etc.]

Keep Going – Reach your goal

  • Gradually increase your daily steps until you are reaching your goal of 10,000 steps each day.