Everyone of us knows how important regular walks can be for good health. It may seem like a relatively simple exercise but it has tonnes of health benefits and it is also one of the easiest ways to keep our minds healthy and fresh. Having said that, have you ever thought about how many steps a day you should take or if it really matters and does the number affect your wellbeing?
Let us take a quick look at the advantages of a daily session of brisk walking-
Health benefits of walking
- It improves your respiratory functions and lung health.
- It can effectively reduce the risk of heart diseases.
- It helps in managing conditions like diabetes and hypertension.
- It strengthens your bones and improves body balance.
- It can ease joint pains and stiffness.
- It can help people suffering from dementia and other mental illnesses.
- It boosts your immune system.
- It promotes stronger muscles and reduces excess fat.
Things to remember while walking
- You can wear a pedometer while walking to keep track of the number of steps taken and set targets.
- Make sure you set a comfortable intensity for walking.
- You should always start slow, take breaks if necessary and cool down after walks.
- Remember to wear the right footwear and comfortable clothing while going for walks. It can have a great impact overall.
- Make your walks interesting, it is always nice to have company and something you should look forward to every day.
- Always choose walks that suit your health.
- Make it a point to drink to stay hydrated during walks.
The goal of 10,000 steps
While you may hear it often and be instructed by your fitness tracking devices to take 10,000 steps a day, note that it doesn’t necessarily have to be the best option. You can decide your own pace and take time to up your current steps. The good news is walking around 7,000 to 8,000 steps daily is equally good, rather better.
While setting goals can motivate you to do better, you must note that it is not necessary to meet a certain target. Walking helps you stay fit, you may include it as a part of an exercise and it does not mean that if you don’t walk 10,000 steps a day, it is useless. Similarly, it does not mean walking 10,000 steps a day ensures additional health benefits.
Studies and research shows that sitting for long durations is not good for one’s health. Movement of any kind, such as exercise, walking, running or any physical activity has positive results. Not only health benefits but these can also help you focus and think better.
The relation between walking and calorie burn
If you are thinking about how many calories are burned in 10,000 steps, you should first understand that each individual tends to function differently. While some may burn around 300-400 calories in 10,000 steps, some may burn way less. The factors that matter in this case are your body weight, height, fitness level, pace and the area you are walking in.
Walking is often linked with weight loss and only when you consume fewer calories or burn more calories than consumed, can you achieve weight loss goals successfully. When you adopt a healthy lifestyle and you are determined to stay active, you can manage your weight healthily. Walking 10,000 steps a day was nothing but a marketing strategy and is not proven to be the healthiest goal.
Easy Ways to exceed your daily steps
- Taking your dog for a walk is a great idea to increase a few steps daily. It is a commitment and also allows you to have a good time.
- Try to take the stairs whenever possible. This way you can increase your steps without actually going on a walk if you have time constraints.
- Walking around the house is equally beneficial. It gives you a good break and keeps you focused.
- Do not always look for shortcuts. You can sometimes purposely take a long route, a detour and run a few errands.
- A post-meal walk is the best bet. It helps in better digestion and can help you with your daily steps without feeling like extra effort.
“Walking can help improve the quality of one’s life, increasing energy levels, improving sleep quality, helping with mood, as well as slowing mental decline,” Wong said. It is advised to have a purpose for walking, it could be weight management, health concerns, mental wellbeing or even just the need for a break. This helps make the walks more meaningful and helps you see results. 10,000 steps is an achievable and great goal but remember that it is not a must to stay healthy. Set your goals based on your individual health profile and increase them gradually to enjoy the benefits of good health.
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.