We are full swing into the summer body craze where everyone is wanting to look their best! Have you recently picked up a new fitbit, apple watch, or other form of health tracker? It seems most of these fitness accessories automatically tell you that you should take roughly 10,000 steps a day to obtain optimal health, but if you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking WOW- that seems like a lot! So I began to wonder: on top of eating healthy how many steps are really necessary a day?
After looking into this subject I have learned that there is no scientific evidence behind the magic number 10,000. Studies have been done on women and men of all ages with the most recent study being done on over 17,000 women having an average age of 72 years old. What they’ve found is pretty incredible!
None of these women hired a personal trainer, went to the gym, or did anything they wouldn’t do on a normal day, they simply just tracked their steps for that day. With different activity levels there will always be different results, but maintaining a realistic goal is they key to success. During this study women who took roughly 4,000 steps per day got a boost in longevity compared to the women who took fewer steps and they were also 40 percent less likely to die or become chronically ill during the follow-up period of about four years. Do you want to know what surprised me the most? The study also showed that the benefits of walking maxed out at about 7,500 steps meaning those who walked more than 7,500 steps per day saw no additional boost in longevity. It’s also noted that the study didn’t track other activities such as swimming, gardening, hiking, or other things that we may be doing this time of year that could also be noted as a form of exercise.
Health Benefits of Walking:
1. Boosts metabolism causing less sugar cravings
2. Improves balance
3. Maintain weight or assist in losing unwanted weight
4. Decreases risk of chronic disease
5. Lowers blood pressure
6. Releases endorphins (feel good hormone)
7. Lowers cortisol levels (stress hormone)
8. Reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression
9. Boosts mental clarity
So, my question to you is this- If simply walking benefits your health don’t you think you should do it more? 10,000 steps might be out of reach to you, but aim for at least 4,400 a day, along with doing daily activities that you enjoy and you’ll be doing yourself more good than you thought. Easy ways to achieve this could differ from parking further away from the store or taking a refreshing walk through the park or any other form of nature.
There is no better time than now to take steps towards a healthier you!