You may have heard the figure 10,000 thrown around when it comes to how many steps to take in a day. Ten thousand may sound like a lot, but you have to remember, our ancestors didn’t have office jobs! They were constantly on the move and didn’t suffer from diseases related to a sedentary lifestyle. People who are largely inactive take between 1,000 and 3,000 steps a day. I recommend you aim for at least 5,000 steps each day and, ideally, 7,500 or more.
Do More Steps Really Mean Better Health?
Studies have shown that walking 10,000 steps a day can aid in weight loss, improve blood pressure, reduce your risk for heart disease, and increase your wellbeing. Another study from the United Kingdom looked at 111 postal workers and the results were startling. Those who walked 15,000 or more steps each day had almost no risk for heart disease. This is huge news, considering heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide.
Now, 15,000 steps could take you more than 3 hours to walk. So it might not be feasible to walk this much every day. Honestly, my concern is not how many steps you walk every day. I’d rather you focus on reducing the amount of time you’re sitting each day. Most people are not active enough.
How Can I Improve My Health?
Walking is an accessible way to start moving right now! Here are some tips to get you started:
- Set a Goal – if you’re just starting out, start off with small goals like walking 5-10 minutes around the neighborhood.
- Slow and Steady – walk at a comfortable pace. You’re not in a race. Walk at whatever speed is comfortable to you and gradually increase the pace as you get stronger.
- Go the Distance – gradually increase the distance you walk as your stamina increases. You’ll be able to complete your route as your pace increases, so you’ll need to increase how far you’re walking at the same time.
- Schedule Breaks – if you are someone who sits for a large portion of the day, make sure to stand up and stretch at least once each hour. Your body starts to compress and hunch forward creating a strain on your spine while weakening your muscles.
Our bodies are not designed for all-day sitting and your health will suffer if you do!