Many of us nowadays are living increasingly sedentary lives, stuck in front of computer screens in offices, languishing in traffic going to and from jobs and when we get home of an evening we want nothing more than to flop down in front of the television after a hard day’s work.
This is how weight can be put on, particularly if you are not watching what you eat.
But by taking some simple steps, 10,000 of them to be accurate, you can prevent weight gain, and become healthier without having to toil at a gym or join a sports club.
The idea behind the 10,000 steps challenge is to build up the number of steps you take a day. You are not necessarily going to achieve it every day, but it is a target to aim for. The average person walks between 3,000 and 4,000 steps per day so building up to 10,000 a day may take some time, but don’t be discouraged. It’s a target to work up to!
10,000 steps a day is the equivalent of walking 5 miles a day. A handy way to keep track of your progress is with a pedometer. These can be purchased individually although most smart phones will have a pedometer or walking app you can use.
Having the pedometer will make you more conscious of how often you are walking. It will prompt you to take the stairs at work instead of the lift. You may park the car slightly further away in the morning so that you walk a little further to work. And in the evening or in your spare time you are more likely to go for that walk in the park.
The Mayo Clinic recommends that people using pedometers first set short-term goals, such as taking an extra 1,000 steps daily for one week, and then build up to a long-term goal such as 10,000 steps.
These additional steps will soon, literally add up, and you will begin to see the benefits of something so simple as walking a little more, each and every day.
Some of the benefits of walking up to 10,000 steps a day are;
Walking doesn’t put wear and tear on your joints like more intense methods of exercise like aerobics or running. You won’t feel all achy the day after a walk so you won’t have a reason to not do it, unlike when you go to the gym and you have to talk yourself into it cause you muscles are still aching after your last workout.
Walking, particularly if outdoors in nature is a really great way to relieve stress. A brisk walk boosts endorphins, which can reduce stress hormones and alleviate mild depression. Catrine Tudor-Locke, director of the Walking Behavior Laboratory at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, La advises that If you normally walk about 5,000 steps a day, getting in an extra 30-minute, brisk walk into your day would take you to about 8,000 steps.