Of the many physical activities that improve our health, walking constitutes one of the most beneficial. Nearly everyone regardless of age or fitness level can participate in this simple exercise and enjoy the benefits of maintaining weight, improving heart health and enhancing mental wellbeing. Moreover, people tend to stick with walking, making it a life-long fitness choice.
We’ve all heard that walking 10,000 steps a day is the goal. You might wonder where that figure comes from. Research indicates that isn’t a magic number, but rather a good indicator of how much activity a person achieves in a day. An inactive person takes about 3,000 steps or less per day, while 10,000 steps is equivalent to about 5 miles of walking.
Unless you work in a very active job, you probably won’t get that many steps in a day. To reach that goal of 10,000 steps, you’ll need to exercise for 30 to 60 minutes a day, the minimum daily recommendation by health authorities. So 10,000 steps offers a simple way to measure movement.
You can measure your steps in a variety of ways. Many smart phones now have the capability to measure your activity if you have your phone with you. Pedometers also measure steps and come with a variety of options that not only measure steps, but also distance and calories burned. Fitness bands offer the latest in technology to measure steps. Most of them are wrist bands that sync to a phone app and include many features to help you in your fitness journey.
Keep in mind you don’t need to measure your steps to be successful. The most beneficial aspect of measuring your steps is that you gain information. Being able to set a goal and track progress toward that goal is what’s really valuable.
There are many ways to get your daily steps in. Go for a walk, hike or run. Attending an exercise class will boost your step count quickly. Try a dance class or any other cardio-type class. You can even get steps taking a water class. If your step counter isn’t waterproof, you can count on an average of 2,500 steps during a one-hour class.
Other ways to gain a few extra steps is to park away from your destination, take the stairs or take your dog for a walk. Without even knowing it, you’re increasing your step count and reaping the benefits. To increase your heart rate, boost your metabolism and burn more calories, try increasing the intensity of your efforts by walking on an incline or quickening your pace.
Another reason walking is an excellent exercise that’s easy to do and stick with is you don’t need a lot of special equipment. All you need is a positive attitude and a good pair of sneakers and you’re on your way.
It all starts with a single step. Are you ready to step in and step up?