So There Really Is Something Special About 10,000 Steps Every Day
It has become conventional wisdom that we should all try to take 10,000 steps every day. Turns out that number was dreamed up by a Japanese company in the 1960’s looking to promote pedometers. Is it real?
Turns out the answer is “YES’!
A study in JAMA Neurology found that walking about 10,000 steps a day was linked to less cardiovascular disease (heart disease, stroke and heart failure), 13 types of cancer, and dementia.
If 10,000 steps sounds a bit daunting (after all, it is the equivalent of walking 4 or 5 miles depending on your stride) another study in the journalJAMA Internal Medicinefound that for every 2,000 steps a day, you could lower your risk of premature death by 8% to 11%.
The same studies found that walking faster increased the health benefits even more.
The take-home message, according to the lead co-author Mathew Ahmadi of the University of Sydney, is that we should all aim to reach 10,000 steps a day but even it we don’t we should at least aim to walk faster.
10,000 steps seems to be the sweet spot. Neither study showed any increase in benefits if the participants walked farther.
Here are a few suggestions for getting more steps into your day:-
Use your lunch break. Most people get a 30 minute lunch break. taking 20 minutes of that time to take a brisk walk will knock off about a 5th of the recommended steps.
When possible take the stairs. On average, you can add 270 steps to your day with each minute spent climbing stairs.
Pace around. Think of the daily tasks you do standing and move around instead. For example, in the two minutes it takes to brush your teeth, you can add up to 240 steps on average. Or move around while you wait for your food to heat up in the microwave. The options are endless!
Go the distance. How often do you drive around the parking lot looking for a premium spot? Next time you go to the store, or arrive at your office, save some gas and park farther away!
Set an alarm on your phone or watch to remind you to get up and get active at least once during your workday. Walk from one end of the building to the other and back again. Even if it is to just take a quick lap around your work area, you’ll rack up the steps by the end of the day.
Find a walking buddy. If you have a dog don’t just let it out the back door. Take a walk together every day. Whether it’s a nightly after-dinner activity, or a brisk way to start your morning, you’ll both enjoy the fresh air, and you’ll surely add up steps in no time!