When it comes to goals, one of the most commonly seen is “I will increase my daily step count”. We look at the benefits of this and ask, what is the magic number of steps?
There are many benefits to walking, not least that you could fairly easily burn around five hundred calories a day with it. Walking is a low impact exercise suitable for the majority of people and has been proven to help lower the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol problems and more. Walking is great for your mood too.
What is the Perfect Number of Steps
On average, walking 10,000 steps a day could help you burn as many as three and a half thousand calories per week. This could help you lose a pound of body fat a week. It is important to remember that while 10,000 steps is a great guide, it isn’t the golden number. Any additional activity is advantageous. For someone who has been fairly inactive as far as walking is concerned, increasing their step count to 6000 a day could prove to be a very positive change.
Some individuals routinely walk 10,000 a day with ease. They don’t drive, they walk children to school and back twice a day, walk to work, walk up and down stairs and so on. If this is their long-term “norm” they might find that in order to gain extra benefits and burn calories/lose fat that they might need to step it up a bit.
The perfect number of steps per day depends on the individual and may change. It’s safe to say however that any additional physical activity is a bonus.
You really don’t need a fancy gadget in order to track and log your steps. A very simple clip-on pedometer will do the trick perfectly. If you do want something with a few more features there are a number of exercise gadgets on the market. Make sure you do your research before buying. Some mobile phones have inbuilt health apps which claim to track steps, however, be aware that the accuracy of these are not guaranteed and they often use up your battery fairly quickly.
Ways to Increase your Step Count
Don’t try to jump from fairly inactive to over 10k steps a day overnight. This is a tall order and you may be setting yourself a challenge you can’t meet. Instead gradually increase your steps by 300 or 400 a day. With any exercise regime, it makes sense to start slowly and built up your intensity.
Schedule your walking time in. When it comes to smashing goals some planning is required. Identify when and where you may walk more in order to meet your daily step goal. This could mean incorporating a walk at lunchtime, parking your car further away from work and walking the rest of the way in or committing to using the stairs instead of the lift. Small changes over time can make a big difference.
If you really want to ramp things up a bit look at hill walking. This helps strengthen leg muscles, burns more calories and of course being outdoors in the fresh air is always a bonus. If you live in the middle of a city and a hike up a big hill isn’t an option, use what you do have. Use stairs.
Get the most out of your walking by increasing the intensity. Still, aim for your set number of steps but get your arms moving, pick up speed and enjoy the benefits of power walking.
Remembering to walk can be an issue for some people. If you are someone who might need a prod or a reminder, set yourself one on your phone, have someone encourage you to go for that walk at lunchtime or pop a sticky note on your desk!
Walking as part of a Bigger Regime
Increasing your daily steps is a great way to boost your health and reduce many health risks. Walking is only one part of the equation. If you are looking to really make some very positive changes in your life you need to integrate your walking into a larger regime that is specific to your needs and goals.