U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Indian Health Service: The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives
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Saturday, September 24, 2016

Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention - Leading the effort to treat and prevent diabetes in American Indians and Alaska Natives

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Native Pedometer Trekking

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NOTE: Access to this information is not restricted; however, the information found here is intended for use by medical providers. Some videos contain graphic images. Patients should talk with their medical providers about any specific concerns.

Why is this important?

  • Pedometer trekking programs are designed as a series of local foot trails tailored to the fitness levels of participating community members.
  • The variable terrain of natural outdoor environments provides increased interest and energy expenditure, and helps reduce cardiometabolic risk factors.
  • Exposure to natural sunlight helps in vitamin D synthesis and may improve seasonal affective disorder.
  • Course distances are validated by pedometer measurement and can range in miles or total steps counted.
  • Brief stops and activities along the trek can be added that include cultural and spiritual landmarks specific to the community.

Action steps:

  • Locate several foot trails or park-like courses (or local less-traffic roadways) that circulate through the community or pueblo.
  • Complete a Pedometer Course Certification indicating trekking level and level of difficulty.  down arrow up arrow
  • Certify the course:

    • With a well-engineered pedometer (e.g. Accusplit 2720, New-Lifestyles, Walk4Life) walk off a course, carefully keeping the same relative walking pace throughout the course.
    • Repeat this measurement. The two step count measurements should agree within 5%. Average the difference between the two measurements.
    • Draw out the course and post the approximate step count with a notation that the posted step count is approximate and depends somewhat on height and walking pace. Actual individual step count will probably agree within 10% of the posted step count.
    • Label courses as Level 1, 2 … and note their level of difficulty depending on terrain and grade.

    Establish trekking level:

    • Level 1:   1000 – 3000 steps (0.5 – 1.5 mile courses)
    • Level 2:   3000 – 6000 steps (1.5 – 3 miles)
    • Level 3:   6000 – 10,000 steps (3 – 5 miles)
    • Level 4:   >10,000 steps (>5 miles)

    Identify level of difficulty:

    • Easy (minimum terrain/grade)
    • Moderate (moderate terrain/grade)
    • Difficult (significant variable terrain and grade)
  • Provide recommendations for trekking level and level of difficulty.  down arrow up arrow
  • Individual Trek Recommendations

    • Those who are obese and or have diabetes should begin with Level 1 courses.
    • Level 1 courses with variable-terrain treks should be recommended for adults who have been previously sedentary and/or who are at moderate cardiometabolic risk (i.e., ≤2 risk factors).
    • Level 2 or 3 course treks are recommended for those who have previously engaged in Level 1 courses with no adverse musculoskeletal or cardiorespiratory symptoms or responses.
    • Level 4 courses and or difficult treks are recommended for those who have previously engaged in Level 3 courses and had no adverse responses.
Overview How To Other Resources

Division of Diabetes Treatment and Prevention | Phone: 1-844-IHS-DDTP (1-844-447-3387) | diabetesprogram@ihs.gov