March 27, 2017
It has been widely reported that 10,000 steps per day is the recommended activity goal for people who are seeking to improve their overall health. This theory is based on research published almost 70 years ago in what is known as the London Transit Workers Study, which followed London bus drivers and conductors and tracked their heart health.
According to an article published in the New York Times, “this study was one of the first to persuasively show that being physically active could lower someone’s risk for heart disease, while being sedentary had the opposite effect.”
But a recent study published by The International Journal of Obesity, which followed 111 postal workers in Glasgow, Scotland, shows that it may take closer to 15,000 steps per day to improve heart health in the average person.
According to the The New York Times report: “The greatest benefits came from the most exaggerated amounts of activity. Those mail carriers who walked for more than three hours a day, covering at least 15,000 steps, which is about seven miles, generally had normal body mass indexes, waistlines and metabolic profiles. Together, these factors meant that they had, effectively, no heightened risk for cardiac disease.”
Granted, this was a fairly small sample of people monitored over a relatively short period of time, but there is no doubt that the more active you are, the better your physical health.
With this in mind, I am offering a few ideas for how to increase your number of steps every day for a healthier you:
Activity trackers like Fitbit, Jawbone and Nike Fuel Band are very helpful because not only do they track your movement, they track your sleep and can serve as reminders to get moving throughout the day.
It is important to be prepared at a moment’s notice so you are able to take a walking break if your schedule allows. Don’t let uncomfortable shoes deter your health goals. Keep a pair of sneakers in your office or invest in comfortable work shoes that look like dress shoes so you have the freedom to walk whenever you want to.
A lot of people will tell you to take the stairs, but how many of us actually do? Take the steps even once per day for a little boost in your step game.
You may not be able to hit 15,000 steps per day right away, and that’s OK. Start by aiming to hit 10,000 steps. If that comes easily, you can move your goal up to 12,500 steps per day. Once you hit 12,500 for a period of a week or two, try shooting for 15,000. You’ll be surprised how motivating setting and exceeding a real goal can be.
Being on the phone is a great time to get moving because you are distracted. Walk outside or walk around your office while you are on the phone. Don’t forget, every step counts.
Things are always more fun when you have someone else to do them with. Find a friend who is looking to be healthy too and schedule time to walk together. Go to the track, walk through your neighborhood, or walk around your office together. Once you have a buddy, you can motivate each other to get moving.
For me, walking is a time to clear my mind and just enjoy being outside and moving. If I know I have good music to listen to, I am even more excited to get out there. Use an app like Spotify or Pandora to generate playlists for you. All you have to do is enter a song or an artist for inspiration and let the app do the rest of the work.
More and more people are focused on their health and truthfully no one likes to be cooped up in an office or a loud coffee shop for a meeting. Skip your next lunch meeting with a coworker or client you are comfortable with and ask them if they are up for a walk-and-talk instead.
Take advantage of the extra daylight we have in warmer seasons and get your kids (and/or spouse) outside for an after dinner walk. Not only will it aid in digestion, it will help tire them out before bed.
At the mall or the grocery store? Take a lap or two around when you get there to get the blood flowing and get those extra few hundred steps in. You’ll thank yourself at the end of the day when you are that much closer to your goal.
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I hope these tips help you as much as they have helped me. I will continue to keep you posted on my health journey. Follow me for updates @christiemandia.