10,000 Steps to Better Health

November 8, 2017

Every step you take throughout the day counts!

Health and fitness researchers are finding that people can achieve health benefits by exercising at a moderate level than previously thought.

Two studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association have confirmed that the lifestyle approach can be as effective as a traditional exercise program. Additionally, many doctors and researchers have found that wearing a pedometer or some form of monitoring device is a great way to track your daily activity, while inspiring you to be more active than usual.

To achieve good health, strive to take 10,000 steps a day, the equivalent of walking roughly 5 miles. Doing this will help burn between 2,000 and 3,500 extra calories per week. Track your steps daily and then set your goal. Decide how much you would like to increase your steps per day or week.

Some of the benefits to increasing your steps include weight control, improved blood pressure and cholesterol levels and less risk for cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis or heart disease.

Tips to increase activity:

At home and in your neighborhood

  • Take a walk by yourself, with a friend, a family member or the dog
  • Walk around the block each time you go to your mailbox
  • Don’t use the car for short trips
  • Do housework at a fast pace
  • Do yard work
  • Vacuum your house more often
  • Swap TV time for walking time or walk during commercial breaks

At work

  • Get up and talk to people instead of using your email or phone
  • Go to a coffee machine or restroom that is farthest from your office
  • Use the stairs instead of the escalators or elevators
  • Walk to lunch instead of driving
  • Fix two ten-minute walk breaks into your day
  • Hold a meeting while you go for a walk

Additional ideas

  • Park further away from your destination
  • Walk into the bank or restaurant instead of using the drive-thru window
  • Take a walk while waiting for your doctor’s appointment or for a restaurant table
  • Take a walk in the park or in the mall
  • Join an exercise/fitness group
  • Play in the park with your children or grandchildren
  • Walk around of the field, while your kids play soccer or baseball

Remember it takes approximately six months to adapt to a new behavior. Be patient and gradually increase your steps to the goal you wish to achieve. If you prefer, you can swim or ride a bike instead of walking. For every 30 minutes of swimming or riding your bike, add 3,000 steps to your daily total.

Source: American Council in Exercise and American Cancer Society

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