Is walking 10,000 steps a day just a myth?

Something is always better than nothing!
Did you know that 10,000 steps a day caught on after a Japanese step-counter marketing campaign in 1965 and is totally arbitrary?

Here’s the truth –10,000 steps a day was a catchy marketing slogan and is not the only way you can keep fit and healthy. The truth about exercise is that something is always better than nothing.

The most important thing we can do for our fitness is get rid of the “all or nothing” mentality so many of us have. It’s also vital to commit to doing something every day, however small.

When we set ourselves arbitrary targets like walking 10,000 steps, we can be discouraged from doing anything at all if that goal seems too much to fit into our day, or when our energy is low.

Although 10,000 steps a day does roughly match the amount of recommended daily activity, walking fewer steps still has a significant benefit to your health. Several studies have shown that:

  • Increasing your step count is more important than any specific number of steps so the important thing is walking more than usual – adding a 30-minute brisk walk will have multiple health benefits to your day, even if you’ll manage around 4 – 5000 steps during that walk.
  • Research showed that increasing your daily steps from 5,000 to 6,200 steps still resulted in health benefits, such as improvement in blood sugar control in people with diabetes.
  • Research has also shown that walking an extra 1000 – 2000 steps a day reduced blood pressure by 11 points in postmenopausal women and improved their lipid profile.
  • Studies showed that those who walked 7,000 steps a day saw a similar health benefit to those who walked 10,000 steps a day.

Getting into the habit of a daily 30-minute walk will pay dividends in a number of ways including:

  • Improved heart health
  • Reduced diabetes risk
  • Reduced stroke risk
  • Improved back health
  • Improved bone health
  • Improved mental health

Too many fitness programmes make big demands of you – from time to money to the level of fitness you need to begin. The key thing with fitness is that it should not cost time or money – fitness should be something available to all. The greatest benefit of exercise is when we go from doing nothing to doing something, whatever that is.

Even if you don’t enjoy walking, you can try dancing at home, doing a 30-minute workout video, trying yoga, whatever keeps you moving.

For us, the perfect exercise regime is a 30-minute daily walk coupled with some resistance training (bands or weights) to help build muscle and boost your metabolism.

Don’t wait to start because big goals are daunting – make small goals and get going!

If you’d like a lifestyle and diet assessment, a full check-up and to talk about the right exercise and nutrition options for you, consider one of our health screenings! Call us to make your appointment.

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