Congratulations, you got a new fitness tracker. Great! Now you will start walking your 10,000 steps a day!
Only you probably won’t. The average person only walks about 5,000 steps on a daily basis. The idea of walking 10,000 steps a day was created by a Japanese pedometer company in the 1960’s. It’s not a bad idea. in fact hitting the goal will go a long way towards getting your recommended 150 minutes of activity in a week. The problem is, unless you schedule a 5 mile walk every day you are very unlikely to hit it.
How can you actually get fit walking?
Walking is actually very good for us so it’s worth making it a habit. It has been shown to:
- Reduce instances of chronic illness.
- Boost mood.
- Strengthen bones.
- Clear your head.
The British National Health Service has a program called “Active 10.” The idea is instead of walking 10,000 steps a day, you go for 10 minute “brisk” walks. The research suggests that short, brisk, walks are actually better for you than longer, less intense ones. During the walk, simply move fast enough to raise your heart rate.
Making “Active 10” a habit.
The great news is “Active 10” is much more conducive to habit formation than “10,000 steps. A 10 minute walk is easier to set a reminder for than a 5 mile walk! It would take you about 90 minutes to walk 10,000 steps in one go. It’s much easier to fit in 10 minutes here and there. You can add your “Active 10s” to your calendar. Or even better, create a habit of walking after each meal. Eating a meal is something you already do and can serve as the reminder. As an added bonus, walking immediately after a meal has been shown to speed up metabolism – which helps with fat loss. As always, check with your doctor before starting any habit that could affect your health.