Walking is an easy and effective exercise that almost anyone can do. Other than proper shoes, you do not need any special equipment to walk, nor do you need to join an expensive club. Regular walking reduces the risk of many common diseases, including obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression.
The average person who uses a pedometer walks 10,000 steps a day, or about 5 miles (8 km). They have heard that this amount of physical activity helps them lose weight and increase their life expectancy.
However, the source of this advice is unclear. In 1965, a Japanese company introduced a pedometer called Manpo-kei, which means “10,000 steps”. This recommendation was based on an advertisement that was very successful in terms of marketing. 10,000 steps a day are part of the culture of many countries.
In 2019, a study examined the benefits of 10,000 daily walks. The purpose of this study was to determine if there was a correlation between daily steps and mortality rates among elderly women.
The study included more than 16,500 women aged 62 to 101, with a mean age of 72, who used the census for at least four days. The devices recorded both the number and intensity of steps taken during the day. Four years later, the researchers assessed the participants’ health.
Women who walk an average of 4,400 steps a day were 41 percent less likely to die than those who walked an average of 2,700 steps a day. As the number of steps increased beyond 7,500 per day (25 percent less than 10,000 steps), the risk of death further decreased. Those who walk more than 7,500 steps per day will not receive any additional benefits. There was no significant link between gait intensity and mortality rates.
The effects of 10,000 daily walks on body composition and heart health have been examined in several studies. In one study, overweight or obese adults who walk 9,500 steps a day on average gain 2.4 kg after 36 weeks and lose 2% of their body fat.
However, walking is not the only factor that contributes to health. In this regard, different aspects of lifestyle, such as sleep, stress management, and diet, can all be helpful. If you have an unhealthy diet, can’t control your stress, or don’t get enough sleep, 10,000 steps will not guarantee your health.
In addition, some exercises, such as yoga, strength training, and cycling, do not add to your steps, despite being good for your health. The number of steps you take during the day does not provide an accurate picture of your activity level.
Is it necessary to walk 10,000 steps every day?
Sedentary people walk about 3,000 steps a day. Taking 10,000 steps a day is difficult if your job is not busy. You can reach 10,000 steps a day by walking for 30 to 60 minutes or running slowly.
The key is to not focus on one number or part of your health. Instead of trying to walk 10,000 steps a day, focus on improving your health (such as sleep, diet, stress management, and inactivity).
If you count your steps, you may become more active and reduce your sitting time. Most people are surprised at how active they are throughout the day. A pedometer can serve as an alarm.
At first, you do not have to walk 10,000 steps every day. Walking this much may be too much for elderly people or people with sedentary lifestyles, and may even discourage them from exercising. If you are one of these people and would like to increase your physical activity, set a reasonable goal for yourself.
You can gradually increase your steps as you get used to walking. You can do this by parking further away and walking, by using the stairs instead of the elevator, and by getting up during commercials and taking a short stroll with your children or grandchildren.
You can even walk during lunch. You can reduce your lunch time to 10 minutes and walk instead. You don’t have to follow a set schedule every day. Walk 10 minutes during lunch one day and a few minutes on your way to work the next morning.
In addition to quantity, you should pay attention to duration and type of activity. It is suggested that you complete 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week, such as brisk walking, 75 minutes of high-intensity aerobic activity, such as running, or a combination of both. Strength training such as weightlifting should also be included in your exercise program at least twice a week.
Physical activity prevents the effects of prolonged sitting. Those who sit for more than eight hours a day are 59 percent more likely to die than those who sit for less than four hours a day. You can reduce your risk of death by doing 60 to 75 minutes a day of moderate-intensity physical activity. Thus, brisk walking can help reduce the negative effects of prolonged sitting.
How to increase calorie burning from walking?
Most weight loss programs recommend burning 200 to 300 calories a day with moderate to vigorous exercise. Walking burns calories primarily based on your body weight and secondarily based on your walking speed. When your body weight and walking speed are higher, you burn more calories.
You also burn calories when you sit and breathe. Take a walk to burn more calories. Running also burns calories. Ten thousand steps equals five miles or eight kilometers. Depending on your weight and walking speed, you burn 35 to 120 calories per mile.
If you are sedentary most of the day, you should increase your physical activity. Sedentary lifestyles are associated with serious health problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and type 2 diabetes. As well as lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar levels, walking helps prevent cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Walking also helps you maintain a healthy weight.
There is a lot of press surrounding the benefits of 10,000 daily walks, but research indicates that even 7,500 daily walks can be beneficial for your health and reduce your mortality risk. If you are not very active, it is best to gradually increase the duration and intensity of your walk.