Should You Take 10,000 Steps a Day for a Balanced Life?
Is 10,000 the magic number? Well, it all depends on your current fitness level and your goals. The average American walks 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day, that’s about 1.5 to 2 miles. Understanding how many steps you walk now is a great way to establish your baseline to plan for the future. But before you do anything, it is important to first define your goals, such as to:
- Increase general health, wellness and fitness
- Decrease weight
- Maintain health
Increase general health, wellness & fitness
If you’re new to exercising or returning from an injury, you’ll want to start slowly to avoid burnout or further injury. After you have established your baseline, you can work up toward your goal by adding 1,000 extra steps a day each week. Meeting your goal could be as simple as an extra five-minute walk, or even parking further away in the parking lot at the grocery store.
With a little math, you can determine how many steps you need to take each day to achieve your weight goal. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends slow weight loss for lasting results. This translates to about 1/2 pound to one pound per week. Completing an extra 10,000 steps each day could burn about 2,000 to 3,500 extra calories each week. One pound of body fat equals 3,500 calories, so depending on your weight and workout intensity, you could lose about one pound per week simply by adding 10,000 steps each day.
Maintaining your desired goal could be just as challenging as achieving your goal if you don’t have the right plan in place. The 10,000-step goal could be right for you—and the benefits of a 30-minute daily walk are impressive, helping to reduce your risk of common health problems such as:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
Additionally, one study out of California State University showed that mood lifted in correlation with increased numbers of daily steps, and researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found that 30 minutes of walking each day cut stroke risk by a minimum of 20%. It’s important to note ethat you will also burn calories and fat and enjoy vitamin D from the sun while you’re in the sun.
So, how can you include more steps in your day?
- Take the stairs
- Take the dog for a walk
- Walk while listening to music to make your walk more enjoyable and help motivate you to walk farther or faster
- Instead of sending a work email, walk to your colleague’s desk
- Have a walking meeting versus sitting in the office
- Walk while waiting: Take a walk instead of sitting while you’re waiting for an appointment
- Break up the day with workday walks by setting reminders on your calendar for short walking breaks to increase energy throughout the day
- Choose parking spots farther away from the entrance. If you take the bus, get off a stop early and walk the rest of the way.
Your goal will depend on your starting point. However, everyone can gain the benefits of walking more, step by step. We hope you find a balanced approach to improve your wellbeing from head to sole.
If you find that you need help along the way to care for any foot or ankle pain, or even injury, let us know. Together, we can find foot and ankle health and wellness solutions to help you move beyond the issues preventing you from achieving your wellness or exercise goals.