The 10,000 steps a day route to perfect health is a myth based on research into elderly women. It’s an arbitrary number and will never be a real indicator of fitness.
Pounding round the living room at night, just to hit your 10,000 steps before retiring to bed, isn’t the best way to unwind and get a good night’s sleep.
I’m all for walking more but let’s be realistic. Do you really need to walk 10,000 steps a day?
Why Walk 10,000 Steps A Day?
Walking more is definitely good for us, and whatever your fitness regime, adding walking into the mix, will give you benefits.
But the question is why 10,000 steps? Why not walk more or less?
The number seems to come from the Japanese word Manpo-kei and a push to improve the nation’s fitness before the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
It’s possible the 10,000 steps was the default setting on a pedometer introduced in Japan at approximately the same time. Manpo-Kei became a popular slogan, as walking was embraced as an affordable way to exercise, accessible to everyone.
Walking 10,000 steps a day caught on and today is seen as a marker of good health and fitness around the world.
Will Walking 10,000 Steps A Day Make You Healthy?
Subsequent health studies have shown that walking 10,000 steps a day is only beneficial if it becomes a long-term habit. It’s what you do everyday that counts.
Even the person walking 4000 steps a day, every day can be healthy. It’s better to walk regularly than start a habit you can’t maintain.
It’s also important to balance your walking with your other sporting activities. If you’re already getting plenty of exercise, walking isn’t essential.
Ways To Make Walking A Regular Habit
Here are ideas for making walking part of your daily routine:
Leave the car at home.
Often getting your first car is the biggest hit to your health. Instead of just popping to the grocery store on foot, car owners reach for their keys.
Try leaving the car at home unless it’s essential. How about having regular car free days or just using your car for the commute to work.
Walk in your lunch break.
Taking a walk in your lunch break will not only improve your fitness, it’s also a great way to clear your head. Your productivity will definitely benefit.
Start your day with a walk.
Walking is a perfect exercise in the morning. Not too strenuous, making it a good way to ease into the day.
Get a dog.
Now getting fit shouldn’t be the only reason for getting a dog, but dogs do need to be walked. Maybe that’s why they’re called a “man’s best friend”…
Walk around the office.
Take the stairs instead of the lift, or walk to the opposite end of the building to discuss an issue in person. Find ways to increase your walking during office hours.
You’ll benefit from the leg stretch and being more visible around the office may even help your career prospects!
Getting hung up on walking a rigid number of steps doesn’t really make sense, but a regular walking habit is definitely good for you. I’m not a slave to my pedometer, it’s just a little reminder that I need to exercise. How about you?