Happy Friday my friends! I tell my clients all the time that they need to keep moving to stay fit…especially on the days when I’m not working out with them. We have become a nation of couch potatoes and “sit-at-my-desk all day” or “hunched over my phone all day” kind of nation. The average American takes only 5,900 steps a day, which is somewhat better than the sedentary Brits that average less than 4,000 steps. The “10,000 steps-a-day” trend actually started with manpo-kei, a 1960s Japanese marketing tool to sell pedometers.
The 10,000 steps concept lacks specific supporting science, it’s widely acknowledged that we are healthier the more we move. I personally think that the 10,000 steps is a great goal to work towards especially if you aren’t very active. If you are already active and the 10,000 steps is already very achievable (like say for a nurse or doctor) then aim for 15,000 or even 20,000 steps…especially if you are trying to lose weight.
Walking is one of the easiest exercises to do and anyone can do it any time…any place. I recommend walking to everyone I speak to. It’s a great way to get started into a fitness regime as well as a way to just stay active, even if you workout 5-6 days a week. Just because you workout say for 30-60 minutes in the morning, doesn’t mean you get to just sit around on your butt the rest of the day. You still need to be active.
Walking has tremendous mental and physical health benefits that increase by just getting outside in the fresh air.
10,000 steps seems to be the magic number for the average American, according to Dr. Michael Roizen, chief wellness officer at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. “That specific number of steps seems to help break down insulin resistance, an underlying cause of Type 2 diabetes.”
Other well-documented health benefits of a walking program include:
- increased heart health
- lower blood pressure
- stronger muscles
- improved balance
- weight control
- natural stress relief
Several studies show that a brisk walking program nearly cut in half the risk of early death in breast cancer patients. Most experts note that a walking pace that leaves the walker only slightly out of breath reaps the greatest rewards.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least 150 minutes of exercise weekly, or 30 minutes 5 days a week, for virtually everyone. You don’t have to move for 30 minutes straight either…ten minute increments are great! Takea quick morning walk around the block, then another one during your lunch break (after you ate lunch for better digestion) and then another one when you get home from work or after dinner. Some evidence has been shown that varying walking speed is even more effective in overcoming insulin resistance and burning calories.
Walk at a steady pace for 2 minutes, then do a speed-walk for the next 2 minutes, then back it down again, and keep alternating your speed. I also recommend walking in an area where it’s flat as well as inclined for even more calorie burn. Walking up and down hills is also great for building muscle in your legs and getting them stronger.
I do local walking workouts in Lititz, PA if you want or need help getting started.
Some other tips for getting in more steps in your day:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Walk to your neighbors instead of calling (the same goes for your co-workers…walk to their desk instead of emailing)
- Walk around your office or home when you are talking on the phone
- Get a treadmill desk like I have which is great when you work from home
- Park your car in the farthest parking space from the store
- Walk to the library instead of driving
How many steps do you average each day?
Stay Healthy my Friends!
Carrie A Groff