I recently completed a course on exercise prescription for the treatment and prevention of disease.
A key component for improving health is walking.
The guideline is 10,000 steps a day which has many health benefits:
Walking can lower your risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes mellitus and heart disease. It can also lead to fat loss as you can burn around 100 calories per mile.
On a busy day including a gym class, run or netball match I far exceed 10,000 steps. I’m lucky that my job requires me to be on my feet and moving but the majority of people are desk-bound making it harder to reach those 10,000 steps.
A typical sedentary person walks 1000-3000 steps a day.
To put that into context, 1 mile or 1.6Km ≈ 2000 steps and takes roughly 20 minutes.
Therefore 10,000 steps equates to roughly 5 miles / 8Km!
But how can you get to 10,000?
- Track your steps
Seeing your number of steps can keep you on track throughout the day.
You can track your steps with a pedometer or the “Health App” on most iPhones. Another great app is “Active 10” which also monitors your distance and speed.
- Add 300 steps a day
It’s unrealistic to expect to go from 2000 steps to 10,000 steps overnight. As with any exercise build slowly and set realistic goals to achieve your target.
Consider breaking your target down into 3 smaller goals throughout the day – morning, midday and evening.
- Start walking!
Here are some easy ways to sneak some extra steps in each day:
- Get off the bus a stop or 2 early and walk the rest of the way
- Park in the furthest space in the car park
- Use the stairs instead of the lift
- Instead of calling or emailing a colleague at your workplace, walk to their office
- At work move as much as possible – stand up when on the phone, place the printer away from your desk and if possible get a sit-stand desk
- Go for a stroll on your lunch break – you may find it even improves your productivity
- Cleaning/vacuuming can build up a large number of steps
- Instead of meeting a friend for a coffee go for a walk together