According to most health and fitness advisers, we should aim to take 10,000 steps each day in order to achieve health benefits as a result of walking for exercise. That equates to something like four and a half to five miles for someone of average height and stride length.
It sounds like a long way - but don't forget that those 10,000 steps are the total for the day. They include the steps that you would normally take during your daily routine anyway.
Even those of us with a fairly sedentary lifestyle will take two or three thousand steps each day. Some people will already take quite a few more.
If you don't know how many steps you normally take, a low priced pedometer might be a good investment for you. These are very accurate these days and will display the number of steps you take, the distance covered and the number of calories burned.
You may find that having this information available will help to keep you motivated.
And reaching your 10,000 step target will be a lot easier than you think. Here are just a few suggestions for ways to increase the number of steps that you take each day:
- Leave the car in the garage and walk to the shops, work or college.
- If you do need to take your car, park in a section of the lot that is further away from the entrance than normal.
- If you take the bus or the subway to work, get off one or two stops earlier than normal and finish your journey on foot. Do the same on the return journey home and you'll get double the benefit.
- Instead of using the elevator use the stairs from time to time. As with the bus journey, if you have many flights to climb and it's not practical to walk all the way, just get out one or two floors earlier than normal and do the last leg using the stairs.
- Go for a walk at lunchtime instead of sitting at your computer.
- Walk around when you're talking on your cellphone.
You'll be surprised at just how quickly these small changes can make a difference. Don't forget, you don't need to hit the 10,000 step market immediately. You should start slowly and then build up gradually to your target value.