The importance of getting your steps in
As crazy as it might sound, one of the most effective and efficient ways of enhancing your health is also one of the easiest – daily walking.
As crazy as it might sound, one of the most effective and efficient ways of enhancing your health is also one of the easiest – daily walking. Getting on your feet and walking targeted distances is a good starting point for individuals who spend a large portion of their day inactive. It doesn’t require much thought and is relatively easy to fit into a busy routine, whether that’s from using part of your work commute to walk, or going for a walk in your local area if you work from home.
How many steps should you get in daily?
A goal of 10,000 steps a day equates to around 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous intensity activity a week. This may be a large number to aim for particularly if you spend most of your day sat down, however there are ways to make walking more fun and easier to do:
• Standing at your desk instead of setting
• Walking meetings – taking your meetings with you if over the phone, or walking with colleagues
• Walking up stairs instead of taking the lift
• Walking as much of your daily commute as possible
• Going for a walk during your lunch break – this could have a boost on your mood and energy and help reduce work-related stress
Now one thing to highlight is that if you’re just starting out, you don’t need to have 10,000 steps as your starting goal. Starting at 5,000 or less works just fine – start at whatever number is challenging for you with the aim to increase that number by a certain amount periodically. Some of the biggest benefits of daily walking include:
• Boosting your heart health
• Strengthening your lungs
• Improving your concentration
• Strengthening your bones
• Building muscle
• Stabilizing your blood sugar
• Lowering blood pressure
• Improving flexibility
• Boosting energy levels
• Improving your mood
How to get started
If you’re new to tracking steps, start by tracking your average steps for a week or two. Then set a goal to push yourself above your average movement.
The most important part of tracking your steps is to be mentally prepared for both the days when you don’t reach your goal and the days when you exceed it. Trying to reach 10,000 steps can be a great goal to aim for, but if you are consistently getting discouraged, try re-accessing your goal.
Overall, just get out and move more than you did yesterday. Little movements don’t take much time and add up, and as research shows, are just plain good for you.