OK, so we have all heard that for optimum health we should all be walking 10,000 steps a day. It’s a nice round figure but on first glance it does seem rather a high number. But is it really? And do we need to walk 10,000 steps a day?
So you may be wondering where and who invented the 10,000 steps idea. Well, it is actually quite an old theory and originates from Japan in the 1960’s when walking groups in the country created the term ‘manpo-kei’ which literally means 10,000 step meter. Once this number was established as a benchmark, studies were made of the health benefits if a person followed this regime.
These studies concluded that people who completed 10,000 steps a day had positive health benefits, including lower blood pressure, stable glucose levels and improved mood and mental health. Since these initial studies the general public has been advised to try and incorporate 10,000 steps into daily life. Other proven health benefits include, reduced risk of heart attacks, strokes, cancer and type 2 diabetes. Other benefits also include an improvement in mental health and an overall, better quality of life.
Now while the amount of 10,000 steps may seem a lot, it really isn’t if you break it down over the course of a day. In distance terms 10,000 steps is equal to roughly five miles. If you think of an average person’s daily routine then this is achievable. Of course this depends on what kind of a job you have. For instance if you have a sedentary job and are sat at a desk for most of the day, then you may struggle to fit in 10,000 steps. Conversely, if you work in retail or you have an outdoor job as a labourer then 10,000 steps may be easy to achieve for you.
So what can you do to reach your daily target of 10,000 steps without thinking about it too much?
- How about a daily walk? Take a friend or partner so you don’t get bored and choose a walking route that is pleasant and will lift your mood. Of course, if you have a dog then it is easy to get your steps in during your dog walks.
- Take the stairs instead of the lift. This could be in your place of work or while you are out shopping. This is an easy one for me as I hate lifts and take the stairs every time!
- If you have to take the car when you are shopping, then park further away from the shops and walk in. The same idea can be used when supermarket shopping. How many of us try and find a parking spot near the entrance to the store? Guilty? Well, park in the furthest corner from the entrance. Not only will you be getting more steps in, but you will be less stressed looking for a more convenient parking place.
- Join a local walking club. These are very popular at the moment and are a great way to meet new friends as well as getting in your exercise.
- Do you travel by public transport to work? Then why not get off a few stops earlier and walk the rest of the way? Your body will love you for it as you will be outdoors, rather than crammed in to a tight space on a crowded bus or train.
- If you do have a ‘sit down’ job then perhaps set the alarm on your phone to ensure you remember to get up and walk round the room. If you do this every hour you will find you will benefit from the short break away from your computer and you will also be adding to your step count.
- My last top tip is to buy yourself a pedometer which records your daily step count. You may find that your phone records your step count too, but remember if you go somewhere without your phone then it won’t give you an accurate recording. I personally have a smart watch which accurately records my step count. With one glance I can instantly see if I need to be increasing my steps and can take action on this.
So there are a just a few of my personal tips to help you achieve your 10,000 steps a day. The good thing about walking is that most people can do it. You can be any age and any fitness level and still achieve the 10,000 steps. And just think how great you will feel after a few weeks of walking 10,000 steps a day. I can assure you, you will feel amazing.
Do you have any top tips to help increase your step count? Do you find it hard to walk 10,000 steps a day? Has your health improved since you started walking further? As always, please comment below as I would love to hear from you.
Until next time dear friends