A healthy day involves food, light, breathing, stress control, planning, and also physical activity.
The easiest way to introduce physical activity into your life is with a simple hack: walking 7,000 steps a day.
Here’s how to do it properly for the best results and the reasons behind it.
HOW TO DO IT
As simple as it sounds - just walk 7,000 steps every day. You can do it all at once at a specific hour or you can divide it into different chunks of steps that sum 7,000 in total. Reaching your step count isn't as impossible as it may seem!
You can do it slowly or you can walk a bit faster - up to you. Grab a friend to make it more interesting or listen to your favorite podcast or audible book. Juicy stories or suspenseful sections in your book, even a good rock song, will easily help step up the pace!
Customize it depending on how you feel - and if you can walk more than that, go for it. Walk 10,000 steps per day or 8,000 steps or simply get the lower spectrum at 4,000 steps to 5,000 steps. Something is better than nothing!
We recommend you do it outside - so that the light can get on your face and dissipate your mind. You can do it during a work break to free up your mind and relax your body. The benefit of taking time to exercise per week is free and a terrific, active routine to lower any risk to your health with the mere act of 30 minutes of moderate to brisk walking.
The purpose of this is to make your life more active without having to undergo workout routines that are high intensity - it’s the ideal introduction that will lead to bigger gains afterward. Take it day by day and watch the fitness and health benefits flow!
WHY DOES IT WORK?
Walking more will help you to burn more fat, boost your cognitive function and mental wellbeing, and overall, improve your health. It's proven to have numerous health benefits while helping you lose weight with a low-intensity physical activity.
Here’s the evidence:
It will strengthen your cardiovascular system and reduce the risk of coronary heart disease by 19% (evidence)
It will improve oxygen saturation, and hence, bring more aerobic power and increase energy levels (evidence)
It will improve your mood while combatting anxiety and stress (evidence)
Overall, walking more is the perfect complement to boost your health and improve your life quality. Women or men, track with a device or not--take 30 minutes out of your day to be active, increase you daily steps by walking 10,000 steps or 7,500 steps, it doesn't matter. What matters is getting yourself out there and reaping the health benefits of a physical activity that is proven to help others lose weight and improve fitness levels.
Walk more and see the magic happen!
WHAT NUMBER OF STEPS SHOULD PEOPLE TAKE PER DAY?
It is suggested, for general fitness among adults, that 10,000 steps a day is a neutral guideline to aim for. Obviously, this guideline can change based on age, fitness level, health, and environment (walking incline and declines are more difficult than walking flat distances).
This recommendation isn’t some number that we randomly put together, it’s actually recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (1). Walking, especially, is a low-impact exercise that is popular among older adults but should be utilized by all age groups. The reason being that it is easily accessible to anyone and can be done anywhere (or on a treadmill or even an indoor track if the weather is poor). It also doesn’t require multitudes of people. Going to Disney with the family can easily get those 10,000 steps in!
HOW MANY MILES IS 7,000 STEPS?
7,000 steps are about 3,535 miles. Step length obviously matters as some people have longer or shorter strides.
HOW MANY STEPS TO TAKE FOR WEIGHT LOSS?
According to a study done, 10,000 steps a day was recognized to enhance weight loss (2)! This number is great as it creates a better caloric expenditure than 5,000 or below (but remember some is better than none!).
It can also improve health in ways like:
- Reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke
- Strengthen bones
- Improve balance
- Increase muscle strength
- Increase endurance
- Increase cardiovascular fitness
HOW MANY CALORIES IS 7,000 STEPS?
Obviously this depends on the individual and the pace taken to obtain the 7,000 steps, but calories burned would probably be about 280. The person's normal physical activity level will also heighten or lessen the calories expended with the number of steps taken. To walk 10,000 steps can appear small or grand to different individuals, especially depending on if that individual does exercise per week or not.
10,000 STEPS A DAY FOR WEIGHT LOSS?
A great starter for any individual looking to improve their general fitness is to go on walks or improve your step count. This will immediately improve daily caloric expenditure and if nutrition is on point, you will start to lose weight simply from that activity. Pace will heighten or lessen your caloric expenditure based on energy given for the act of walking. Normally steps are adjusted into a weight training (which has bountiful amounts of benefits along with also increasing caloric expenditure) program as a form of active recovery and low-stress way to improve fat loss progress.
Walking in of itself is a great low impact exercise that can improve anyone's fitness levels depending on the minutes of moderate to brisk walking accomplished. The health benefits are there just remember nutrition will be the deciding factor!
WALKING ACTIVATES THE LYMPHATIC SYSTEM
Surprisingly enough, walking activates the lymphatic system with the mere act of taking a brisk walk.
Who would have thought?! How awesome is that to have such outstanding benefits from such a simple and accessible exercise. Walking can be done by toddlers to older adults---anywhere! And we have proof that it activates our lymphatic system, which is super important and essential for everyday living!
Here's how it works. Gravitational pull is created and pressed upon the lymphatic system by the base act of walking, a weight-bearing activity. With a brisk walk, think power walk, you will obtain the best results to detox and improve your lymphatic system (and therefore overall health).
Just for reference our lymphatic system is important because:
- Balances fluid levels
- Eliminates toxins and other waste materials in the body
- Fights infection
THE NUMBER OF STEPS TO TAKE BASED ON YOUR AGE
In a 2011 review, the conclusion was that adults over the age of 18 should be taking 4,000 to 18,000 steps a day (3). Another 2011 review was done for children and adolescents under 18 years old and it was concluded that they should be walking 10,000 to 16,000 steps per day (4). The Center for Disease and Control (CDC) recommends for older adults to get at least 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week (5). This adds up to about 15,000 steps each week, or about 2,000 steps a day.
As shown above, there's a bit of a difference in step count for each age group. As age increases, the step count for each day decreases significantly.
HOW TO GET MORE STEPS
I know these numbers seem like a lot, but don’t worry, it’s easier than you think to reach your step goal!
Here are a few quick ways to reach your step goal:
- Clean your house (you’d be surprised how many steps you get in!)
- Park farther away (so you have to walk a distance to reach the door)
- Use the stairs (no elevator today!)
- Get an accountability partner (walk with your friend or neighbor and set a schedule!)
- Take your dog(s) on a walk