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Our world has become increasingly sedentary. Daily life and work demands typically keep us tied to our screens and desks, which makes it difficult to get some natural movement throughout the day. It’s because of this that we ask the question, “How many steps should I walk a day?”
The benefits of walking are invaluable. Although simple, walking is an effective way to aid weight loss, boost your overall health, and improve your fitness levels. However, the average number of steps per day we should be walking is a tricky number to allocate.
That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide detailing walking benefits and the steps you need to aim for every day.
Why Should You Walk More?
Not just a means of transport, walking empowers you to improve your lifestyle. Here’s why you should look at increasing your average steps per day:
- Sustainable: Walking is an environmentally friendly transportation mode.
- Low-Impact: It doesn’t put stress on your joints, which makes it suitable for individuals with joint issues.
- Cost-Effective: You don’t require any special equipment, and walking is free.
- Accessible: Regardless of your fitness level or age, almost anyone can walk.
- Versatile: You can easily walk to most places and at any time.
Benefits of Walking
Known as one of the most accessible forms of physical activity, the benefits of walking are far-reaching. Here are some of the common advantages:
Walking can be an excellent tool for those wondering how many steps a day is good. When you go for regular walks, you burn calories, which helps in maintaining a healthy weight. You can then burn more calories and lose more weight by walking more.
Better Joint Health
Unlike high-impact exercises, walking is known to be gentle on your joints. This helps you reduce the risk of arthritis-related health problems while improving joint flexibility.
Improved Cardiovascular Health
You improve your cardiovascular fitness when you walk regularly, lowering your heart disease risk. When you consistently walk daily, you promote healthy blood circulation and increase your heart rate, decreasing your chances of developing high cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
Better Mental Well-Being
Not just good for your physical health, walking works as the ultimate mood booster. Taking a risk walk releases endorphins, which reduce anxiety and stress. These endorphins also better your mood and help boost your overall mental well-being.
Improved Lung Function
You promote better oxygen intake and deeper breathing. This betters your lung capacity and function.
Increased Energy Levels
Walking regularly combats any feelings of fatigue and increases your energy levels. That’s what makes it the natural way to feel more productive and alert throughout your day.
How Many Steps Should You Take a Day for General Health?
It’s widely accepted that the standard daily steps you should be walking each day is 10,000 steps. The global benchmark was first popularized in the 1960s by pedometer manufacturers in Japan.
What Are the Pros of 10,000 Average Steps a Day?
- This can contribute to improved cardiovascular health.
- The 10,000-step benchmark encourages increased physical activity for many people.
- It can be easily remembered and is a well-established walking goal.
What Are the Cons of 10,000 Average Steps a Day?
- Other forms of physical activity can be easily overshadowed by focusing on a specific number.
- This can be a challenging goal to achieve for some individuals (especially if they have sedentary jobs).
Tips to Achieving 10,000 Average Steps a Day
Walking 10,000 steps each day might seem daunting if you’re not accustomed to a high step count. That’s why we’ve put together some tips to help you gradually increase your daily step count:
Remember to Start Slow
You want to start your journey to 10,000 average steps a day by taking your current step count and aiming to add 500 to 1,000 steps every day. Keep adding these additional steps until you reach 10,000 average steps a day.
Don’t Forget to Break It Down
Setting out for 10,000 steps in one walk is a lot for anyone to take on. Instead, incorporate short walks throughout your day. An example of this could be a 10-minute stroll while you’re having your lunch break.
Use a Smartphone App or Pedometer
Keeping track of your daily steps is important to see how much you’re doing. These tools let you see how much walking you’re doing, which can keep you motivated.
Walk While You’re Taking Phone Calls
You can take phone calls while you’re walking around your home or office. This is a great option, especially if you have a desk job and are mostly restricted to remaining seated throughout the day.
Walk with a Friend
You can make your walking sessions more enjoyable if you socialize while doing it. This can also encourage consistency if you have a friend who will join you on your walks.
Take the Stairs
Instead of elevators, you want to take the stairs whenever possible. This will help you increase your step count.
Define your monthly and weekly goals to monitor your progress. This will help you remain motivated.
How Many Steps to Take for Weight Loss?
You might need to surpass the 10,000 steps per day if your primary goal is weight loss. 12,000 to 15,000 steps per day would be a more effective way to shed some pounds.
What Are the Pros?
- You increase your calorie expenditure because of a higher step count.
- When combined with a balanced diet, you can easily accelerate your weight loss.
What About the Cons?
- This might not be a suitable option for those with certain health conditions.
- Significant time commitment is needed.
How Can You Start Using Walking for Weight Loss?
By itself, walking can be an effective tool for weight loss. However, it’s far more powerful when you combine this walking with other strategies. This includes:
You want to drink plenty of water. This will help support your metabolism and overall health to promote weight loss.
Eating a Balanced Diet
Make sure you’re following a calorie-controlled and balanced diet. Your chosen diet should work alongside your weight loss goals.
You want to aim for around 60 to 90 minutes of brisk walking. This should be done for most days of the week to ensure you’re remaining consistent in your goals to lose weight.
Walking at High-Intensity Intervals
A great way to reach your goal is by incorporating short bursts of brisk walking into your routine. You might also want to do some of your walking uphill to increase your calorie burn.
Tracking Your Progress
Using a fitness app or tracker can help you monitor your daily steps and the calories you’re burning while walking. This is an excellent tool to see how your work is paying off and help you motivate yourself to keep walking.
How Many Steps Per Day to Improve Your Fitness?
Maybe your primary goal isn’t to lose weight but to improve your fitness. If that’s the case, you need to take a different approach to your walking. Instead of aiming for 12,000 to 15,000 steps each day, you want to aim for around 7,000 to 8,000 steps.
However, the ideal daily step count varies based on your specific fitness levels and goals. Nonetheless, these 7,000 to 8,000 step counts are a good starting point.
What Are the Pros?
- Walking is achievable for most people.
- Improves your endurance and cardiovascular fitness.
What Are the Cons?
- This form of exercise might not be sufficient for those with more intense fitness goals (such as competitive athletes).
- Walking may not offer significant muscle-building advantages.
How Can You Incorporate Walking into Your Fitness Routine?
Walking can be an exceptional addition to your fitness routine. However, it’s important that you compliment your walking efforts with other forms of exercise. This will provide you with a well-rounded approach. Here are some examples:
Set Fitness Goals
You want to outline your fitness objectives. Some of these goals might be to achieve a specific level of cardiovascular fitness or improve your endurance.
Monitor Your Progress
A great way to monitor your progress is through fitness trackers or apps. These tools keep track of your distance, steps, and other important fitness metrics.
You also want to include stretching exercises in your walking routine. This helps reduce the risk of injuries while also improving your flexibility.
Another great addition to your walking routine is doing some jogging or short bursts of brisk walking. This will help improve your cardiovascular fitness.
If you also want to build muscle and skyrocket your overall fitness levels, adding strength training exercises to your walking routine is a great option. These can be short exercises you do before or after one of your walks.
Tips to Help You Incorporate More Walking into Your Day
You don’t need to dedicate extra time out of your already busy schedule if you want to walk more. When you make a few lifestyle changes and do some strategic planning, you can easily increase your average steps per day.
Here are some tips to help you walk more each day:
Park Farther Away
Aim to park farther away from the entrance whenever you drive to work, the store, or any other destination. This will force you to walk more than normal without having your schedule significantly impacted.
Use the Stairs
Instead of using the escalator or elevator, try to use the stairs. Not only does this boost your step count, but it also offers an exceptional lower-body workout.
Use Public Transportation or Walk to Work
Consider walking to work instead of driving if your workplace is a reasonable walking distance away from your home. If this isn’t the case, you can use public transportation instead and get off either a stop or two before. This will help you add a walk into your daily commute.
Invest in a Standing Desk
You might want to start using a standing desk at work. This will help you stand and move more throughout the day. It also limits the amount of time you spend sitting in front of your desk. Additionally, this standing desk can promote more walking throughout your working day.
Take Short Walking Breaks
Make a conscious effort to take time out of your day for short walks. You can do this by standing up from your desk, doing a few stretches, and walking around your office each hour or so. This helps you refresh your mind while also boosting your step count.
You also want to make sure that you’re using an ergonomic chair when you’re seated to ensure your back is properly supported.
Make Strolls Part of Your Lunch Break
You should use part of your lunch break to go for a walk. A great add-on to this would be to invite your co-workers with you for a leisurely stroll. This can provide an opportunity to catch up on personal and work matters.
Wrapping It Up
The question, “How many steps should I walk per day?” is a valuable starting point for anyone wanting to live a healthier and more active life. Although a simple form of physical activity, walking is a powerful solution for those wanting to improve their general health, lose weight, or increase their fitness.
To make things better, it’s universally accessible to almost everyone. This is regardless of fitness level or age. Tailoring to your specific goals, you want to be walking 7,000 to 8,000 steps per day for fitness improvement, 12,000 to 15,000 steps per day for weight loss, and 10,000 steps for general health.
Although these numbers might look like a chore, walking becomes a lifestyle choice that can easily be included without significantly impacting your schedule. The tips discussed in this article do just that. All you need is a little strategic planning, and you’re ready to increase your average steps per day.
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