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YMCA, WakeMed Want People To 'Step' Up To Fitness

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RALEIGH, N.C. — More than 60 percent of American adults fail to get the recommended 30 minutes of physical activity a day, and 25 percent aren't physically active at all, according to health experts.

So, American adults gain an average of one to two pounds a year, they said.

To change that trend, the YMCA and WakeMed are offering a three-week challenge to get people to walk more for better health.

  • America On The Move

    "All we're trying to do is just get people moving," said Donnie Jackson of the A.E. Finley YMCA in Raleigh, which has signed up close to 1,000 people for the challenge that ends Sept. 31.

    Equipped with pedometers, participants begin walking. The goal is to start with about 10,000 steps per day, which is about 5 miles, and each following week to increase by about 2,000 steps per day. You do not have to be a YMCA member to take a personal fitness challenge.

    "We're trying to encourage people to do it in simple ways -- parking a little bit further away from the grocery store, walking up stairs instead of using elevators at work," Jackson said.

    Nancy Camp said she already walks to feel better.

    "I really do enjoy it," Camp said. "I try to make it a part of most days and certainly five days a week if I possibly can."

    For those not interested in walking, consider this list of activities if done for 30 minutes.

  • Aerobics: 6,750 steps
  • Basketball: 5,250 steps
  • Bicycling: 7,500 steps
  • Elliptical: 6,750 steps
  • Flag Football: 6,300 steps
  • Gardening: 3,300 steps
  • Golf: 3,180 steps
  • Pilates: 2,820 steps
  • Running: 10,000 steps
  • Soccer: 5,500 steps
  • Swimming: 5,550 steps
  • Stair Climber: 6,750 steps
  • Vacuuming: 2,700 steps
  • Weight Lifting: 2,100 steps
  • Yoga: 2,100 steps
  • The energy equation is simple: Burn more calories than you take in, you lose weight. Burn as much as you consume, you maintain weight. Consume more than you burn, you gain weight.

    Health experts also recommend starting with a professional health assessment at a gym like the YMCA or checking with a doctor before launching into an exercise routine.

    Camp said she knows from experience not to overdo it.

    "You don't want to hurt yourself. You don't want to be so sore tomorrow that you don't want to ever come back," she said.