Walking is one of the easiest, most enjoyable, and most profitable forms of exercise. All you need is a good pair of shoes, comfortable clothing, and desire.
It all starts with a desire. For me, it was a desire to undo the damage of sitting so much, to enjoy more time in nature, to have a goal that was easily achievable. I also came to the realization that no one else can move my body for me, and if I didn’t set a goal I’d find a reason to avoid doing something I knew was important for my health.
The beauty of my own journey to 10,000 steps was that the benefits were far greater than I could have imagined. I now eagerly look forward to my daily walk or walks (sometimes I break it up into several shorter walks).
Why Take 10,000 Steps A Day
Everyone knows that living a sedentary lifestyle can cause all kinds of health problems, from high blood pressure and high cholesterol to diabetes and obesity.
To keep your heart healthy, you need to move and get that circulation flowing. So when people think about getting healthy (and losing weight), they immediately think diet and exercise. But just the thought of exercise, especially for people that haven’t been mobile for quite some time, can seem as daunting as climbing Mount Everest.
When you’re starting to get back into an exercise regimen or just wanting to take better care of your body, walking is a great way to increase your mobility and get your body moving. It’s easy, gets the blood flowing, and makes you feel good once you’re done.
Studies have shown that walking 10,000 steps a day will improve your overall health. Ten thousand steps equals to almost five miles. The average person’s stride is about 2.5 feet long, which is approximately 2,000 steps for one mile. So just divide 10,000 by 2,000 and you have just about five miles.
Why Walking 10,000 Steps Daily Provides Optimal Health
10,000 steps a day?! Are you crazy?!
It may seem overwhelming at first, but actually, you’re not really adding in an extra five miles per day. You’re just fitting in more steps each day. The average person already takes about 4,000-6,000 steps a day, so you may already be getting in half of these steps without even realizing it.
Your body was designed for movement, and more and more researchers are stressing the importance of walking. Here are a few other health benefits from walking:
- Weight loss
- Helps maintain ideal weight
- Helps prevent heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
- Reduces the risk of stroke
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Improves your sleep
- Increases your energy levels
- Helps balance hormones and lifts your mood
- Strengthens your bones and muscles
20 Easy Ways to Get in More Steps Per Day
The idea of walking almost five miles per day can scare, stress, or overwhelm anyone. Who has that kind of time and energy? I know for me, it can be a challenge because during my day, I’m trying to run my online business, meet with clients, raise my four boys, take care of my home, and find time for myself.
But here are a few easy ways to sneak in a few extra steps a day. It just takes a little thinking and planning, but these will help you reach your daily goal:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
- Park in the space farthest from the door in every parking lot.
- If you have to run errands that are close and you don’t need a lot of items, walk instead of drive.
- If you take the bus or subway, get off one stop early and walk to your destination.
- If you work in an office, use the restroom farthest from your office or work station. The same goes if you have more than one break room or lunchroom.
- Walk during your breaks and lunch hour. If the weather is bad, walk a few laps around the office.
- Instead of emailing or calling a co-worker, walk over to their desk and talk to them.
- Use a standing desk instead of a normal desk, and set reminders while you’re standing to march around your office or march standing in place.
- Use a treadmill desk so that you can walk and work at the same time.
- Instead of sitting in a stuffy conference room at work, invite your team members outside for a walking meeting or brainstorming session.
- Whenever you’re on the phone, pace around the room.
- March in place while doing the dishes or brushing your teeth.
- When you’re grocery shopping, make an extra lap around the perimeter before you checkout.
- Put things out of your reach so you have to get up to get them, like a glass of water, your phone, or the TV remote.
- Start an after-dinner walk with your family, friends or dog.
- Before you get your mail from the mailbox, walk a lap around your house or neighborhood.
- If you’re early for an appointment, instead of sitting in the waiting room, go outside and walk around the block.
- If possible, walk your child to school instead of driving them.
- If you’re headed to the mall, once you get there, stroll the length of the mall before you start your shopping.
- If you’re out on a date with your significant other, take a change of shoes and go for a moonlit stroll around the restaurant or venue before you leave.
It’s also a good idea to the app on your phone, so you can easily keep track of your steps. If you have an iPhone you can simply use the Health app to track your daily steps and miles.
Once you start moving and walking, you’ll find that taking those steps will become easier, and before you know, you’ll be walking 10,000 steps a day!
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