10,000 steps a day – is it really enough?
With fitness trackers a part of many of your lives, it is easier now more than ever to track how many steps you take in a day. Conversely though, with more sedentary jobs than in the past, it is more difficult now more than ever for you to get in those steps.
You have probably heard the general recommendation of 10,000 steps a day. This means that if an average person’s stride is typically 2.1-2.5 feet, then it would take just over 2000 steps to walk a mile. So if you walked 10,000 steps a day you would average about 5 miles a day. Getting in your miles or steps has tremendous benefits including,
- Weight loss or maintenance
- Enhances focus and decision making
- Decreases symptoms of depression and anxiety
- Limits chronic disease
- Reduces pain and inflammation in the body
- Strengthens bones and muscles
- Improves balance
And so much more!
But why 10,000 steps a day?
Well originally the 10,000 steps idea is said to have come from Japanese pedometers sold in the 1960s which were marketed and sold under the name “manpo-kei.” If translated this means “10,000 steps meter.” Since then many studies on walking and physical activity around how many steps should be taken daily have revealed that 10,000 steps per day is most certainly not a one size fits all kind of deal. For example, according to a 2004 study in Sports Medicine, researchers found that “Preliminary evidence suggests that a goal of 10,000 steps/day may not be sustainable for some groups, including older adults and those living with chronic diseases. Another concern about using 10,000 steps/day as a universal step goal is that it is probably too low for children, an important target population in the war against obesity. “
Moreover, in a 2008 meta-analysis, researchers concluded that 10,000 steps per day day doesn’t necessary hold much ground especially in regards to weightloss. But the American Heart Association supports that walking briskly for at least 30 minutes a day can reduce risk of coronary heart disease, improve blood pressure and lipid profile and maintain body weight.
So in conclusion as to if 10,000 steps a day is really meant for everyone?….Well walking has many health related benefits but 10,000 steps a day may not work for everyone. The general consensus is to move as much as you can and here’s a few challenges to help you get started!
Top three STEP IT UP CHALLENGES (or goals).
Every hour on the hour!
Fitbit and other wrist activity trackers have built in reminders for this challenge and it can be customized to your preferred setting. For example, you can set your steps to 250-500 or more steps every hour and your band will buzz as a reminder to take your steps if you haven’t met your hourly goal yet. A wrist band is not the only reminder you can have. You can try to set an alarm on your work calendar or personal cell phone as well. This keeps you mobile throughout the day so your blood keeps pumping and you remain energized all day long.
Slow and Steady wins the Race.
Allow yourself to measure your baseline steps for a few days or a week. From there aim to add anywhere between 10-15 extra minutes of walking per day for the first week and gradually build each week until you are comfortably walking more.
One hour a day.
Though the CDC recommends 150 minutes of brisk walking or activity a week (or 30 minutes five times a week), like many other certified Health and Wellness coaches and Personal trainers, I personally encourage at least 60 minutes to be your ultimate goal. So again here, get your baseline and gradually build from there. Given time, you will begin to notice the benefits!
– CASEY EDMONDS, CHC
Health Advisor | Email Casey