heard it before: "A journey of a thousand miles begins
with a single step." Such a cliche, right?
single step will start you on the path toward better health,
and youíll need to accrue significantly less than a thousand
miles. In fact, you just need 10,000 steps.
magic number may seem daunting but is much easier to reach
than you think. Clocking in at roughly 5 miles, this guideline
meets the U.S. surgeon generalís recommendation of 30
minutes of moderate activity a day.
result? Decreased risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure,
weight maintenance and reduced risk of osteoporosis are just
some of the benefits of hitting 10,000 daily steps, according
to the American Heart Association.
2013 research in the National Runnersí Health Study and
National Walkersí Health Study, the AHA argues that
moderate-intensity walking is as beneficial as vigorous
running, though runners end up exercising twice as much in the
same amount of time as walkers. That said, any spurt of
activity is beneficial to health, according to the group.
begins with that one step. If youíre starting from the
beginning, nonprofit group Shape Up America offers tips on
building up to the magic number, but their first tip? Get a
pedometer. (Luckily, many smartphones now offer walking apps
to track your daily steps, among other things.)
says most people walk between 900 and 3,000 steps, but itís
easy to build up to 10,000 without strain. Setting daily goals
ó 2,500 the first week, 3,000 the next ó helps scale your
walking until you eventually reach 10,000.
think that you have to knock out 10,000 steps all at once. The
AHAís Russell Pate, a professor of exercise science in the
Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South
Carolina in Columbia, suggests breaking up your walks into
manageable 10- to 15-minute chunks. "Itís not a
skill-dependent form of activity," Pate said. "Itís
the most accessible form of physical activity."
a walk on your lunch break, or walk after dinner with a friend
or loved one. A few simple changes ó even pacing while on
the phone ó will get you to the magic number in no time.
"You can do it almost anywhere," Pate said.