Is Walking 10 Thousand Steps a Day Possible?
It is and here's how you can do it
What many of us don’t know about the ten thousand step rule is that it started as a marketing strategy to sell pedometers.
I would say it worked, but what marketers didn’t realize was it would become a golden rule of fitness.
Getting your ten thousand steps in is a staple in the fitness community if you are starting out and want to lose weight, but what is it that makes walking so beneficial for us?
The Science Behind all These Steps
While digital fitness tracker have evolved, the golden number for steps we take in a day has been set in stone. That umber is ten thousand. Many fitness trackers suggest that we take ten thousand steps a day.
It may sound like it’s not possible but the goal is actually quite simple.
Harvard professor I-Min Lee notes that the ten thousand step target became popular in Japan during the 1960s.
The concept of a walking goal became so ingrained in the Japanese culture that it became part of their global consciousness.
The average person gets between four and five thousand steps per day. But there's good news.
"A few thousand extra steps a day could be enough to reach a healthy goal", said Dr. Lee.
To hit this goal, you need to add around 16,000 steps per week to your routine. This is about 2,000 to 3,000 extra steps a day. This is manageable if you know what to do.
What makes the 10K step model unique is that it includes your daily movements as part of your fitness routine.
Benefits of Walking
Everyone knows if you're trying to improve your health one of the best things to do is become more active. By making this one change, you can improve your heart health tremendously.
A person with a healthy lifestyle and ten thousand steps a day can improve their stroke volume by about ten percent.
What does this mean? This is known as the amount of blood that the heart pumps per beat and is a leading indicator of heart health.
Walking also helps you lose stomach fat. Studies reveal that the calories someone eats may be used differently by their bodies when they exercise than when they consume food.
When you're moving your body uses the food we eat as energy and when we are not our food is stored until we need it.
This results in body fat and walking is a great low impact way to reduce some of it.
Aside from helping reduce stomach fat, walking keeps the brain active. Exercise can also improve the processes related to memory and learning.
Aerobic exercise can also stimulate the growth of new cells in a region of the brain that controls emotion, as found by studies.
Hot to Get all your Steps in
Pets are said to give you a release of dopamine. This is the chemical that helps improve your mood when you are feeling down. Dogs can help you hit your step goal as well.
Taking the dog for a walk counts towards your daily step total.
Depending on how far or long you walk with your furry friend, you can get as many as 2,000 step in. Add that to your total for the day and you're maybe a stone's throw away from hitting your goal.
Some of us have a gym in our homes. If you live in a two-story house or an apartment building, you probably have a built-in StairMaster. Take the stairs whenever you get the chance.
Many of us have gotten used to waiting for the elevator but sometimes its faster to take the stairs to the next floor than wait for the elevator to come back down.
Instead of making one trip, make multiple. Most of us like to get tasks done in one shot but here it's beneficial to take your time and make many trips if need be.
Maybe you're bringing in the groceries. For guys, we like to put all the bags on each arm and prove we can bring everything in the house in one trip. Doesn’t need to be this way.
Take more than one trip and your step count will double.
Many are working from home now, making it difficult to get our steps in. Set a timer to get up and get moving every 45 minutes. This will help you reach your goals and avoid feeling like you’re not doing enough.
Also, it will help you avoid feeling like you should be walking around a bit once you’re done.
Your walking time doesn't have to be that long. As long as you remember to get up and move, you can walk for five minutes multiple times a day and watch your step total increase.
I walk around my neighborhood every day. I also mapped out a route that I know will take a half hour to walk. This helps me stay on schedule so that I can get my work done after I get back and run whatever errands I need to take care of.
One of those errands is going to the super market and this is a great place to get your steps in. Those trying to lose weight may know the rule of staying out of the middle aisles to avoid impulse buys.
But all you need is to walk around the store to get a decent amount of steps in.
There're (those) who even go down aisles they know they won't buy anything from because they want to get more steps in. I don't know many people that bought paper towels on an impulse.
The ten thousand step rule may have been a powerful marketing message that became one of the golden rules for fitness, but it has its benefits. Those looking to improve their heart health but have bad knees can walk instead.
As someone with bad knees, I’m choosing this over running every time. Like many others, I like staying active, but with what I do for a living, it can be difficult to get out and do something.
Counting my steps has given me something to work towards and allows me to be active.
This is something that I have missed since I stopped being an athlete. There really is a hole left in your life when you stop doing something that you love or have been doing for a long time.
For past athletes, I recommend walking and setting a walking goal. It doesn’t have to be number of steps. It can be a distance goal or a time goal.
Staying active is one of the best things you can do for your health and as we get older or get injured, walking is a great place to start improving your health.