10,000 STEPS A DAY
How many steps do you take each day? A sedentary person may only average 1,000 to 3,000 steps a day. However, recent guidelines suggest walking 10,000 steps per day. But why 10,000? The Japanese first started using the 10,000 steps a day number as part of a marketing campaign to help sell pedometers! Since that initial campaign, however, various studies have shown that 10,000 is a healthy number to aim for. In fact, the American Heart Association uses the 10,000 steps metric as a guideline to follow for improving health and decreasing risk of heart disease.
So how far is 10,000 steps? Based on the average stride, 10,000 steps is close to five miles. It is also a rough equivalent to the Surgeon General’s recommendation to participate in 30 minutes of activity most days of the week. Such activity has been shown to result in: increased energy, lower BMI, reduced waist size, and less risk for heart disease and Type II diabetes.
If you cannot walk 10,000 steps today, do not be discouraged! Start at your current ability and increase the average daily steps each week by 500 per day until you can average 10,000 steps per day.
Wearing a pedometer or a Fitbit is an easy way to track your steps each day. Put it on when you get up in the morning and wear it until bed time. Record the number of steps daily and review the average at the end of one week. You might be surprised how many (or how few) steps you get in each day.
There are many ways to increase your daily steps.
- Take a walk with your spouse, child, or friend
- Walk the dog
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Park farther from the store, or better yet, walk to the store
- Window shop
- Visit a neighbor
- Work in the garden
Use your imagination! You’ll feel better and be on your way to a healthier lifestyle.