Again this year we will be taking advantage of technology and we’re encouraging participants to use smartphone apps or digital wrist bands such as the Fit Bit or Apple Watch to track their steps. You also could use the pedometer from previous years to track your steps.
Why can’t we log more than 15,000 steps a day?
We find it admirable that many people exceed 15,000 steps a day, and encourage them to continue their active lifestyles. We don’t allow participants to log more than 15,000 steps a day on the Step Up UCI website for the following reasons:
For optimal health, we are recommending approximately 10,000 steps a day of cumulative walking, combined with specific exercise sessions in which the participant does activities other than walking, such as resistance training, sports, cardiovascular activity, and recreational activities. There is absolutely nothing wrong with walking 20,000 or 30,000 steps a day for those who like it, but for this program, we are advocating 10,000 steps, plus cross training activities, which don’t require a pedometer.
The Step Up UCI program is for everyone, but our primary objective is to encourage people to walk the equivalent of about an hour and a half a day. For those who are comfortable walking more than 15,000 steps a day, Campus Recreation offers other programs in addition to Step Up UCI that are more vigorous. Also, this winter, we’ll be introducing a counterpart to Step Up UCI that goes beyond stepping, and we’re sure you’ll find it challenging and enjoyable.
We have designed team incentive prizes to be within the reach of all of our participants. By limiting the number of steps that team members can log, we are leveling the playing field for those who need the motivation most. We would like to keep the competitive aspect of the program more light, fun, and egalitarian.
There are a very small number of people who are tempted to exaggerate their achievements, and we would like to reduce that temptation out of fairness to all participants.
We hope that even with this rule returning for the 2016-2017 version of Step Up UCI that you’ll continue your active lifestyles and not be deterred from stepping as much as you desire! We applaud those of you who exceed 15,000 steps per day, and encourage you to keep up the good work
What's the best time of day to walk?
It varies from one person to the next. Really any time of day is perfect In the winter try to walk at lunch hour, since that's the warmest part of the day. The fresh air revitalizes you for the afternoon, plus you get a healthy dose of vitamin D from the sun's rays.
The real question is, when are you most willing and able to walk? That's the best time for you.
Should I eat before I walk?
Again, it varies from one person to the next. Definitely always eat something before a morning walk. But if planning to go at a brisk pace or to do some interval training, keep breakfast small and simple--maybe a piece of fruit, or some low-fat or nonfat yogurt. The human body doesn't particularly like digesting food and exercising hard at the same time. That said, a leisurely stroll after a large meal may enhance digestion and burn a few extra calories. But walking before a meal works just as well, provided you don't have any problems with your blood sugar. If that meal happens to be breakfast, be sure to drink a nice, tall glass of water before you head out. Your body may be somewhat dehydrated after a night's sleep
What's the simplest way to determine how fast I'm walking?
The easiest way to gauge your speed without wearing a pedometer--or getting in your car and measuring mileage, which can be pretty difficult unless you walk along a street--is to count your number of steps per minute. The experts use this number to calculate pace, based on an average stride length of 2½ feet. (Stride length is the distance from the heel of one foot to the heel of the other foot when you're taking a step.) They've already done the math for you.
• 70 steps per minute equals 30 minutes per mile, or 2 miles per hour.
• 105 steps per minute equals 20 minutes per mile, or 3 miles per hour.
• 140 steps per minute equals 15 minutes per mile, or 4 miles per hour.
If you pay attention to your steps, after a while you'll be able to estimate your pace fairly accurately without bothering to count. You'll just know what a 20-minute mile or a 15-minute mile feels like.
How many calories do I burn by walking a mile?
The average 150-pound person burns between 80 and 100 calories per mile. However, that number changes depending on height, weight, fitness level, terrain, clothing, temperature, and many other factors. If your goal is to lose weight, forget about the numbers. Instead, develop a healthy eating plan that you can live with, and incorporate as much physical activity into your daily routine as possible, and walk for at least ½ hour a day.
When should I get new shoes?
Replace your walking shoes every 6 months or 600 miles, whichever comes first. At that point, it doesn't matter if the shoes still look great; they've lost a lot of their cushioning.
How can I evaluate my fitness level as a walker?
James Rippe, MD, has developed a special formula to help walkers assess their fitness. Find a flat 1-mile loop. Warm up for 5 minutes, stretching your calves and hamstrings. Then walk the mile as quickly as you can without running out of steam. Compare your time against the benchmark for your age group.
Under 30: If you can walk a mile in 13 minutes, you're in great shape.
30 to 39: Doing a 14-minute mile puts you in the "great shape" category.
40 to 49: Cover a mile in just under 15 minutes (14 minutes, 42 seconds), and you're at the top level of fitness for your age group.
50 to 69: Doing a 15-minute mile is excellent.
70 or over: If you can walk a mile in 18 minutes, 18 seconds, you're very fit for your age.
If you exceed the ideal time for your age group by 3 to 6 minutes, you're not in the best shape aerobically. But don't worry, just keep walking. Regular, consistent exercise can lower your time.
My hands swell when I walk. Is this a problem?
Swelling in your hands is normal. When you swing your arms, the blood rushes down into your fingers. It isn't harmful, but it could be uncomfortable, especially if you wear rings. It's a good idea to take off your rings before you go walking.
If the swelling bothers you, try squeezing your hands into fists from time to time while you walk. This helps push blood back from the fingers. Some people carry small rubber balls to squeeze.
Help! I'm having pain in the front of my lower legs. What is it?
It sounds like shinsplints, a common problem among beginning walkers. It results from doing too much too soon. Your shin and calf muscles cramp from overuse, and you notice a burning pain in your shins.
To avoid shinsplints, increase your distance and pace gradually, and always take time to warm up before doing any speed work. If you've already overdone it, try slowing your pace. If you're still in pain, try stretching your calf muscles. Stand facing the nearest wall or tree, then lean forward, putting your palms against the wall or tree and keeping your heels flat on the ground. Or sit on a bench with your legs straight out in front of you, and flex your feet toward you. Still in pain? Hobble home and apply ice for 15 minutes. Be sure to wrap the ice in a towel, to protect your skin from the cold.
I have heel pain. What should I do?
Heel pain becomes increasingly common with age, especially among the over-40 crowd. Often it results from a condition called plantar fasciitis --that's inflammation of the plantar fascia, a sheath of connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot. As this tissue becomes overstretched and inflamed, it produces sharp pain, especially first thing in the morning when you get out of bed. The pain eases as you walk around, but it can come back, especially if you sit for a long time.
As you get older, your body's tissues become less pliable. That's why stretching is so important. For heel pain, stretching your calf muscles may help. If it doesn't, you may need better walking shoes or special shoe inserts (called orthotics) to keep your ankles from rolling inward (overpronating), which may overstretch and inflame the plantar fascia.
If simple stretching doesn't relieve your pain within a week or two, schedule an appointment with a podiatrist. You need to find out what's causing your pain.
Whatever the source of your heel pain, it needs time to heal. Just be patient. Your podiatrist may want to give you cortisone shots, but they're only a temporary solution. Getting them repeatedly may cause tissue damage over time.
* Remember, when in doubt see your doctor.
How can I avoid blisters?
A bad case of blisters can knock a beginning walker right off her feet. More experienced walkers who step up their workouts or switch to hiking can encounter problems, too. Here's how to keep your feet blister-free.
When you feel a "hot spot" on your foot, act right away. Take off your shoe and apply moleskin or an adhesive bandage over the affected area.
Make sure that your shoes fit both feet. Often one foot is larger than the other. The friction created by wearing the wrong-size shoe--whether it's too small or too large--can lead to blisters.
Wear high-tech socks made from fibers that wick away moisture. Skip the cotton, and look for synthetic blends such as CoolMax or Wonderspun.