The average American walks about 3,000-5,000 steps per day, which according to studies is not nearly enough to keep relatively healthy. The rate of physical activity in the United States has been rapidly declining and is now also at an all-time low. The facts seem to show that Americans, in general, need to exercise more throughout their daily lives, and one of the best and easiest ways to do so is by walking as much as possible.
The 10,000 step program has been recommended by physicians, members of the government and fitness instructors alike for the past few years, encouraging people of all ages to walk more in their daily lives in order to improve health and even lose weight. The facts and benefits of the plan may be more surprising than expected:
What is it?
The 10,000 step program, as the name might suggest, is a plan to walk 10,000 steps on a daily basis, and as a result, improve health, well-being and overall activity.
- Studies show that those who sit most of the day but exercise daily are just as healthy as those who walk 10,000 steps per day; sticking to the program is the equivalent of 30 minutes of daily physical activity, the amount recommended by the Surgeon General.
- Walking 10,000 steps/day, which totals at roughly 5 miles, will burn off between 2,000-3,500 additional calories per week.
- Regular physical activity also reduces the risk of developing high blood pressure, colon cancer & diabetes.
- Further studies show that exercising on a normal basis improves mental health as well as the health of bones, muscles & joints; additionally, frequent exercise increases energy, reduces mental stress and improves weight management; this shows that as you begin walking more, it will become easier to do so.
How to Manage Your Daily Steps and Achieve 10,000
- If you’re serious about trying to walk 10,000 steps a day but don’t know what to do to get there, your first step would be to
buy a pedometer. A pedometer is a small device that will count your steps throughout any given day at work, at home or
beyond. They are small enough to clip onto your waist without being seen, and can cost as low as $6.00 (more expensive
talking ones can cost $25.00.)
- Keep track of how many steps you walk each day, taking note of where and when you walk most. After you have a sense of
what that number is, first: consult a physician if you do not walk frequently; then: follow a plan such as this: begin by
increasing the amount of steps you normally walk daily by 10% every week until you finally reach 10,000 steps per day.
Keep 10,000 steps a constant goal throughout the course of each day.
Example: If you walk an average of 6,000 steps a day, then make it your goal to walk an average of 6,600 steps the next
week, then 7,200 steps per day the week after. Continue this increase each week by changing some of your daily routine
until your final goal is reached. You do not need to continue to use the pedometer if you know your routine and continue it
on a regular basis.
- If you are looking not only to stay in good shape but to lose additional weight by burning off even more calories, more
steps a day are always a helpful weight-loss tool. Follow the same type of program and make a target of up to 12,000-
15,000 steps per day, depending on how much you want to lose. Once again, consult a physician if you are concerned
whether or not they recommend this amount of steps.
Helpful Tips to Walk More
- Go for daily walks with a friend or family member; perhaps you can make your walks slightly longer each day and/or do them in the morning, to establish a good base before proceeding with the rest of the day.
- Park as far away as possible when going to the store, mall or any other establishment with a large parking lot; not only will it increase walking but you won’t have to worry about “finding a good spot”.
- When choosing between elevator and stairs, always take the stairs; once again, you won’t have to wait for the *ding* sound of the elevator.
- Walk your dog more often and further than usual garden, take care of your yard frequently, and always use a push lawn mower.
- Listen to music while doing daily tasks in or outside of your house. It always makes you move more than you normally would.
- Whenever something is in walking distance, you guessed it, walk instead of driving; (SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT AND PREVENT GLOBAL WARMING WHILE IMPROVING YOUR HEALTH AT THE SAME TIME. Could it get any better!?).
Additional Information or Questions
If you still have further questioning or want to know more about the 10,000 step program, visit one of these websites:
- Walking Works
- 10,000 Step Program – Australia
- 10,000 Step Program – New Zealand
- 10,000 Step Program
- The Walking Site
- Getting Started with Fitness
- Buy a Pedometer
- Feet for Life