After a long day at work or even if you are lazing around watching your favorite television show, the last thing you want to do is to get up and go to the gym. People often overlook physical activity, either due to laziness or tight work schedules. While fitness freaks who follow regular fitness routines do exist among us, advents like pedometers, fitness bands, etc., have started to encourage the lazy-bones to become active too.
“The journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step,” said Lao Tzu. Maybe he was talking about your journey to a healthier you. Enter your height and weight details in a fitness tracker and set a step goal per day. Don’t worry; you need only 10,000 steps a day to gain entry into the “fit club.” Not just losing weight, walking will help you stay away from many diseases too.
Getting 10k under your belt
As per the Centers for Disease Control, 150 minutes of activity, i.e., about 10,000 steps per day, is the ideal activity for an average adult. As per the concept of a graduated step index for healthy adults that was introduced in 2004 by researchers Tudor‑Locke and Bassett, people walking less than 5,000 steps per day were classified as sedentary. Even the healthy population that completed a step count between 4,000 and 7,500 steps per day was termed “low active;” however, 10,000 steps per day was considered to be reasonable for an average adult. Although achieving 10,000 steps per day might sound a lot, if you actually do the math, it’s not an impossible feat! Here are some tips to complete the 10,000-step goal per day effortlessly:
- Use a pedometer: Pedometers make counting steps easy. You could install a pedometer on your phone or a smartwatch. Make sure to check it a few times in the day to see your progress or set a reminder on your phone to do the same. If you’re running short on steps, take a walk during your lunch break or a stroll after dinner.
- Choose the hilly road: Walking on hills can help you burn more calories than walking on a straight street. Take advantage of the terrain and regularly walk up and down the hill. Your leg muscles will also gain more strength. If there is a small hill around your home or there is a friend’s home on top of a mountain, meet them! Rekindle the friendship for health’s sake!
- Go for a brisk walk: The more the speed of your walk, the more calories you burn. Swing your hands while you walk, increase the pace of your walking, and hear yourself breathe as you walk.
- Create the distance: If you have no choice but to take a bus or bike as your transport to work, park your bike a little farther away from your office/home than you usually do and walk those extra steps. If you travel by bus, get off the bus 1-2 stops before your destination and walk it down.
- Plan outdoor meetings: Conference rooms and coffee shops are the common meeting spots today, but you could take your and your colleagues’ health a notch higher by planning an outdoor meeting or a discussion while you walk. Kill two birds with one stone; achieve your step count and crack that business deal as well!
- Choose the stairs: By all means, get on the elevator if you are running late. At all other times, forget it exists. Nothing beats climbing the stairs for cardio at work!
How does achieving the ideal step count help your body?
Walking or running outdoors or on a treadmill is an excellent way of completing your daily step goal. Following are some of the benefits you will notice in your health once you start achieving your daily step goals:
- Improves cognitive skills: A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition by the American Psychological Association states that walking increases the generation of excellent ideas and this effect extends to when you get back to your desk as well!
- Lowers your risk of life-long diseases: Brisk walking or any physical activity can keep the following diseases at bay:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Develops overall health: Walking can help you reduce the body fat and improve the fitness of your heart and lungs. Walking also strengthens bones, improves your balance, and improves your stamina and muscle strength.
Walking or running do not need specialized training, a skill set or a gym membership. Make walking a daily practice along with the motivation partner: a pedometer. Remember, the little things matter the most!