To adapt and thrive in our urban environment we need to implement daily habits that will balance our careers with how and what we eat, and how much we exercise. With many of us leading sedentary lifestyles, we can fall victim to increased waist circumference and poor cardiometabolic health. This leads to diabetes, heart disease and premature death. The 10 000 steps a day challenge is an innovative way to become more active.
Why 10 000 Steps?
Taking 5000 steps daily is just not enough, whereas 10 000 steps a day can lead to lower blood pressure and lower blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels are kept stable, the body is under less stress, metabolism improves, and immunity improves. So when we eat our bodies can digest more efficiently and absorb nutrients better. When our health is good, we have better cognitive function. Our productivity increases, leading to better job satisfaction and lower stress levels.
How far will 10 000 steps get us?
10 000 steps are the equivalent of walking 8 kilometres or 4.97 miles. This may sound impossible to do. But if you can manage 30 minutes of brisk walking daily, racking up the difference will be easier than you think. By burning 400 to 500 calories per day, which you can do by taking 10 000 steps, you will be able to lose a pound (450 grams) per week.
How to walk 10 000 steps a day:
Using a fitness app via your smartphone, or a pedometer that attaches to your wrist is all you need to track steps. Walking a straight 10 000 steps will take between one and two hours, depending on your stride and speed. But for busy people, this may be a daunting thought. So how do we overcome this?
Find your baseline: Use an app to measure your daily steps as they are at the moment. This will give you a great starting point, and you may be surprised at how much or how little you actually do walk in a day.
Change your habits:
• Walk to work.
• Walk to the shops.
• Put aside half an hour to go for a brisk walk in a nearby park or around your neighbourhood.
• Park in spaces further away.
• Take stairs instead of elevators.
• Walk the dog (if you have any!).
The benefits of these small changes are big. You save petrol/gas and money by walking to work, which means reducing your carbon footprint. Spending time in a park lowers stress levels.
Ways To Enjoy Walking
Reaching your 10 000 steps a day does not have to start and end with you alone. Joining a walking group is a good idea and a way to be more social and stay motivated. And here, again, we can thank the wonderful world of technology for giving us info at our fingertips. At the touch of your screen, you can link up to a walking group in your area. Walking in a group is also safer, especially for women and the elderly. And with apps, you can stay in touch with other walkers, challenge each other and motivate each other. Interacting with like-minded people, while getting fitter and healthier is another excellent way to relieve stress.
10 000 steps is a great way to weigh less with less stress. Get moving!
(Photo by Matt Quinn on Unsplash)