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Challenges

Health Challenge: WalkingWorks®

BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is committed to helping you lead a healthier lifestyle. That's why we've introduced WalkingWorks, a campaign to help you increase your physical activity and improve your health through walking. The program helps you set your own personal walking goals with the option of using a pedometer to track results.

Walking works — in a lot of ways. A brisk-paced walk can help you and your family look and feel better, increase energy and pick up your spirits.

Walking can work to improve your health, too. A regular routine of brisk-paced walking daily can help you lose weight, lower cholesterol, strengthen your heart and reduce the likelihood of serious health problems down the road. And with America spending more than ever on preventable health problems like heart disease, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes and conditions associated with obesity, such as arthritis, every step counts.

Starting the WalkingWorks Program

WalkingWorks requires you to take 10,000 steps a day. It’s designed for everyone. So even if you have a chronic health condition or are seriously overweight, or if you are already in great shape, you will learn how to set a goal that makes sense for you.

While 10,000 steps may seem like a lot, you're probably walking more than you think. And by making simple choices like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking to the store instead of driving, parking at the back of the parking lot instead of the front — you'll be surprised at how quickly the steps add up

Note: Individuals with disabilities can participate by logging miles traveled in a wheelchair, laps they swim in a pool or time spent performing a comparable physical activity.

Take It Step-by-Step

To avoid injury, consider starting out slowly. Unless you are already walking a lot, it may take a while before you reach the 10,000 steps goal. Follow these steps to establish your individual goal and shape your program:

  1. Baseline. There are two ways to track your progress, either by tracking time or steps. If you are using a pedometer, count your steps for seven days. If you don't have a pedometer, follow the recommendations of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports — begin with 30 minutes of brisk-paced walking at least five days each week. Keep a log to track your current amount of daily walking activity. This will establish your baseline. Include all of your normal walking activities, such as walking up the stairs at home, walking at work, etc. At the end of each day, tally your total steps in the walking log. If you are not using a pedometer, keep track of the minutes you spend walking and apply the same principle by tracking on your walking log.
  1. Benchmark. Your benchmark is the highest number of steps or minutes you walked on any given day while establishing your baseline the first week. Use that number as your daily goal for the second and third weeks. Log your daily walks, and at the end of the third week, review your log. If you averaged your goal, add another 500 steps or several more minutes to your daily goal for the fourth and fifth weeks.
  1. Build. At the end of each two-week period, try to add 500 steps or several more minutes to your walking goal. If you had difficulty reaching your goal, walk at the same level until you build enough endurance to increase your target. Continue to log your activity to prevent slipping back or dropping out. If you find yourself falling behind your average daily goal, try not to become discouraged. To maintain your motivation, keep logging your progress and stay with the same number of steps or minutes instead of increasing your target.

Get Creative

Exercise doesn't have to be a rigid, time-consuming activity. In fact, it shouldn't be thought of in terms of one activity. That is why we like the 10,000-a-day concept so much — walking your dog, walking with your child to the park, walking to and from the parking lot, taking the stairs instead of the elevator — can all be parts of a daily exercise routine that together add up to 10,000 steps.

The challenge is to think creatively about ways you might add "steps" to your day. Here are just a few ideas:

  • Take the stairs as often as possible.
  • Park several blocks from your destination or park at the rear of the parking lot.
  • Walk the last few blocks instead of riding the bus all the way to work.
  • Get off the elevator below your destination and walk a couple of flights of stairs.
  • Park at the opposite end of the mall from where you plan to shop.
  • Walk to do shopping or other errands.

 

Consider adding other walking routines to your day by organizing a lunchtime walking group at work, or a before- or after-work group with friends or neighbors. Instead of watching television after dinner, get the whole family outside for a game of tag or a walk around the block. Try not to get stuck in the "all or nothing" rut — even if you don't have time for a long walk, you might be able to squeeze in a short one, or at least take the stairs.

WalkingWorks Log

Use this log to track your progress every day. Reward yourself as you make progress toward your goals. As you track your steps, take a few minutes each day to sit down and relax. Think about the good feelings that exercise gives you, and reflect on what you've accomplished. This type of internal reward can help you make a long-term commitment to regular exercise.

Download and print the WalkingWorks log.