Updated: Apr 16
Walk at least 10k steps a day, they said - it will benefit you, they said! Yes sure, the web is full of benefits, but not once I have come across the level of difficulty. Sometimes it's not physically possible, People!
Time is valuable and if you work a full-time job, have a relationship or even family, then every minute counts. Don't get me wrong - I am a huge supporter of energy walks, but even I sometimes close my eyes on not hitting the daily 10k steps a day target! Have I felt guilty? - Big Time! But as always, there's more to every story!
How Often Should We Walk?
Let's start with the fact that most Americans walk around 4-5k steps a day (or at least this is what I found on the web). Not bad, right? All this fuss around inactiveness and here we are walking 1.9 miles or 3 km daily.
Of course, when I research deeper, the averages start to change, so my conclusion is that the web is full of garbage and there's no point to continue researching.
There are and always will be some who do 15k steps a day and some who walk less than 1k steps a day. Unfortunately, the statistics of these shows that averagely it's 8k steps for both, but in reality, one is Mrs. Active while the other one is a couch-potato.
Ideally, we should move every hour (especially if you have a desk job) and hit the 10k steps a day mark. For me, 10k steps roughly come down to 4.7 miles or 7.5 km - not that I have giant steps, but still for you, it may vary.
Before I used to keep my daily track on Vivofit Garmin Watch, but now I have started to use my phone because it doesn’t get dirty or sweaty like a watch. However, Amazfit has some really good activity trackers which are much cheaper than Fitbit or Garmin, yet they're still highly sophisticated.
My favorite one is the Equator because it doesn't even look like an activity tracker. Instead, it looks like a stylish bracelet. But if you want a watch that also shows time then check out Polar - they have everything in an adequate price range as well.
Where the 10k Steps a Day Came From?
Curious enough, I started to read up on why 10k is used as a benchmark, but all reasons were weight-loss related. It's not just about weight loss though. YES, you will burn more calories, but there's so much more than that!
Ideally, we should move every hour (especially if you have a desk job) and hit the 10k steps a day mark.
Research by Dr. I-Min Lee, who's a professor in Harward, found that the more we walk, the longer we live. She also noted that it's not actually 10k steps a day. You see, back in the day 10k reference point was mainly used as a marketing tool by the Japanese when they hosted the Olympic Games in 1964 (1).
The research by Dr. I-Min Lee showed that we should all try to hit at least 7.5k steps a day - and that already sounds a bit more realistic, don't you think? Any more than 7.5k a day made no difference in life expectancy.
So take-away is this: if you want to live a longer life then 7.5k steps a day should be something to target.
So how to start hitting 7.5k steps a day?
From my personal experience, mortality is not something that comes in my mind when I do my walks. Other than the fact that I don't feel like a vegetable, I feel that it's a huge motivational boost and concentration helper for me. I'm curious to hear how walking affects you so leave a comment below!
Anyhow, here are some tips that have helped me along the process:
Park your car a bit further away from the office. If you take the public transport then step out 2 stops earlier (fresh air is just going to boost your mood);
In your lunch break, go for a walk around the building;
If you're short on time, do a workout from home or go for a run early morning (AKA fasted cardio) – not only you’re going to wake up your body and give a good boost for the day, but a 20-minute run is about 4k steps in your cashbox);
Go to the ladies' room even if you don’t need to. Wash hands or look at yourself in the mirror to say how awesome you are;
If you drive to work, walk to the store in the evening;
Take the stairs rather than the elevator (it’s the small things that counts – 99% of the people will take the lift, you know);
If you've been sitting at home the entire day then go from one end of your apartment to another for at least 1-2 minutes (I do that during my Lazy Sundays);
On your days off plan a long walk – for example, the place I live is next to walking promenade so I always walk there during weekends to clean my thoughts and breathe some fresh air;
And lastly, if you have a dilemma between driving or walking – just pick walking. It doesn’t matter where - just make that choice. You will experience the world in a way that other car-riders won't.
Remember - the key to not burning out is diversity, even on a small daily basis: it has a huge impact on your life. In order to accumulate 7.5k - 10k steps a day, I have caught myself in situations where I go to the store just to buy a pencil. How funny is that? Prioritizing time for this is prioritizing our health and well-being.
Long-term thinking, Guys! Everybody likes shiny, happy people much better than passive zombies.
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