Do you know how many steps you should be hitting each day to stay healthy and fit? If you rattle off the answer, thanks to the fitness trackers around your wrist, you are not alone. But knowing the magic number may not be enough information to meet your health objectives.
These days, it is hard to walk down the streets without noticing people looking anxiously at their fitness tracker to check how close they are to the magic 10,000 steps. Sometimes, you may also have grappled with guilt after checking your pedometer before bed and finding out that you could not hit the magic number.
If you are going to count steps, your health objective and their magnitude matters. However, several experts believe a goal of 10,000 steps can promote good health and boost longevity.
Why 10,000 Steps
Many fitness trackers come with a default 10,000-step goal today. The entire industry of fitness gadgets claims that the number is secret to a healthy life. Why? What is so special about the number?
If you do the math, then you find that 10,000 steps are equal to around five miles, which is a number to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and various other health conditions. Also, attaining the number does not require you to make drastic changes in your lifestyle. You can cover them by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking your dog, or counting your steps with the help of a pedometer, fitness tracker, or an app on your smartphone.
According to a report by the CDC, a healthy adult must take part in physical exercises for at least 150 minutes a week. And, 10,000 steps can help you cover the recommended exercise time.
Where Did the 10,000-Step Mark Come From
Although the number is called the benchmark for an active lifestyle, some experts are against the recommended number and believe it is a completely arbitrary figure. The debate ignited because of the fact that the 10,000-steps-a-day regime originated in Japan for a marketing campaign in the mid-60s.
During the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Japan-based Yamasa launched the world’s first wearable step-counter, which it named manpo-kei. The company launched a marketing campaign to promote its device and designated 10,000-steps-a-day a healthy walk count. According to some experts, Yamasa did not provide evidence to support its claim.
However, the number garnered international attention and became a magic number for fitness.
What is an Ideal Step Count
In 2011, a study, which was conducted to find out how many steps each day are enough, concluded that a healthy adult must take between 4,000 and 18,000 steps daily for their fitness targets. It also suggested that 10,000 steps-a-day is a reasonable goal for a healthy lifestyle.
A suitable count may also depend on your activity level. For example, an inactive individual covers at least 5,000 steps daily, while one who is somewhat active walks approximately 9,999 steps each day. On the other hand, a person with an active lifestyle looks for a mark of 12,500 steps everyday.
An ideal step count is based on your activity level and health goals. Also, you should not focus on steps when you start a workout plan to achieve your fitness objectives.
How Many Steps to Maintain Your Current Fitness Level
If you are happy with your current fitness level and lifestyle, then ensure that you are following the CDC’s recommendations around daily exercise routine. The health agency suggests that a healthy adult must walk for at least 30 minutes each day (five days a week) or 150 minutes a week.
How Many Steps to Improve Your Fitness
In case improving your current fitness level is your goal, then you need to count your steps and add at least 500 each day to your current average. You can get a pedometer or a fitness tracker to see how many steps you are taking daily. Apart from that, there are various kinds of apps that you can install in your smartphone to track your daily count.
Adding between 500 and 1,000 steps daily to your current count can help you improve your fitness level. You should increase the numbers slowly to comfortably adapt to the change. For example, instead of jumping to an increase of 1,000 steps, try with 500. After that, you can add a few steps each day until you reach the 10,000-steps-per-day mark.
If you are an inactive individual and walk less than 5,000 steps daily, then add approximately 250 steps per day for a week to your routine. Once this feels manageable, take 500 steps more daily until you consistently hit 10,000 steps every day.
To make the walk a little challenging, add a few intervals where you run for 30 seconds after a walk of two minutes.
How Many Steps for Weight Loss
If you wish to drop a few pounds, then 10,000 steps-a-day is an ideal benchmark for your fitness goal. Depending on your diet and lifestyle, the magic number may rise to 15,000 steps-per-day. Also, your gender and age can also increase or decrease your daily step count to achieve weight-loss goals.
A study in 2017, which was conducted on the link between time spent in sedentary posture and cardiovascular risk, reported that the 15,000 steps mark is associated with a lower risk of metabolic syndrome.
However, 10,000 steps per day are sufficient to achieve your weight loss goal. Also, the magic number can improve the physical and mental health of overweight individuals.
How to Walk More Daily
Instead of focusing completely on your step count or keeping your eyes glued to the fitness tracker around your wrist, incorporate walking into your daily activities. You can use creative ways to walk more each day. They include:
- Visiting colleagues in the office to talk to them, instead of using a chat application
- Walking down your building
- Taking the stairs, instead of elevators
- Walking while talking over the phone
- Walking for a few minutes after lunch
- Going an extra mile to buy groceries
Also, you should develop a habit of going for a walk and mini-walks daily. These minor changes can add more steps to your daily count when you do not notice them.
How to Stay Motivated
Whether you want to stay fit or lose a few pounds, you require dedication and discipline to meet your daily step count. If you struggle to remain on the right track or feel demotivated, then replace motivation with discipline. Make it a habit to cover the desired steps, no matter what. When you follow a strict plan, you reach your goals sooner.
Although 10,000 steps-a-day number is effective in maintaining good health, it can be changed to fulfill unique objectives. Find what you want to achieve and decide on the numbers of steps per day required to meet your goals. After that, cover the required steps daily, even if you are not feeling motivated. Once you start moving, the blood starts to flow in your body, and you feel motivated again.