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Step-by-step guide for a healthier you

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Americans take fewer steps than our cohorts in Australia, Japan and Switzerland, according to a new study. Those extra steps have everything to do with the extra weight we’re carrying.

Test your physical activity by getting a pedometer. Clip it to your waistband and wear it from the time you get out of bed until you go to sleep at night.

Keep track for two or three days, then use these “steps per day” numbers to figure out whether you’re active or simply busy:

Fewer than 4,500: You’re very sedentary.

4,500 to 5,500: You’re sedentary

5,500 to 7,500: You’re headed in the right direction but need to step it up.

8,500 and up: You’re active, stick with it.

People who wear a pedometer walk about 2,000 more steps a day—roughly an additional mile—than those who don’t. That burns about 100 extra calories a day.

Tip: To lose weight, work up to 12,000 or more steps a day.

— Adapted from “Walk this way: U.S. out of step with weight loss,” Janice Lloyd, USA Today.

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