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Do we really need to take 10000 steps a day? 5 Fun Walking Tips for Busy People

We often hear this advice: Take 10,000 steps per day for your health. But what if it was just a marketing strategy?

When it comes to staying in shape, we generally hear the advice to aim for 10,000 steps each day. This might be a difficult goal to meet, especially when we’re juggling work and other obligations. But where did this number originate from? Is it really true that we need to take 10,000 steps a day?

Let’s talk about its origin and then later I will give you some of the best fun and easy walking tips you don’t usually hear and how you can achieve your health goals using Remote Patient Monitoring.

The Origin of 10,000 Steps a Day

The 10,000-step-per-day goal appears to have been inspired by a Yamasa Clock pedometer introduced in Japan in 1965. The instrument was dubbed “Manpo-kei,”[1] which means “10,000 steps meter” in Japanese. This was intended to be a marketing tool for the device, but it appears to have caught on as the daily step goal around the world.

Obviously, the marketing campaign was a huge success, as the 10,000-step-per-day advice has been embedded in Western culture. This prompted researchers to investigate if achieving that level resulted in any real health benefits.

Now, to answer your questions on whether taking 10,000 steps is beneficial or not, here are some of the recent studies.

In a 2019 study,[2] women in their 70s who took as few as 4,400 steps per day had a 40% lower risk of premature death than those who took 2,700 or fewer steps per day. The odds of dying young continued to fall among women who walked more than 5,000 steps per day, but the advantages stayed steady at around 7,500 steps per day. It means older women who took fewer than half of the fabled 10,000 daily steps lived far longer than those who took even fewer steps.

In a more comprehensive research[3] of over 5,000 middle-aged men and women of various races discovered that 10,000 steps per day is not required for longevity. Participants who walked for roughly 8,000 steps per day were half as likely to die prematurely from heart disease or any other cause as those who took 4,000 steps a day. The statistical benefits of taking more steps were minor, implying that taking more daily steps up to and beyond 10,000 steps did not harm individuals. In contrast, there was no crucial link between higher step counts and mortality after adjusting the total steps per day.

According to recent research from the University of Texas,[4] if you walk fewer than 5,000 steps a day, your body is less able to metabolize fat the next day. A person’s risk of acquiring cardiovascular disease and diabetes is also increased as fat accumulates in the body.

The bottom line is…

Increasing your physical activity, such as your step count, lowers your risk of developing chronic diseases and improves your overall health. However, based on current researches, trying to achieve 10,000 steps each day isn’t necessary for good health, although half that amount is advantageous.

It is still important to focus on counting steps to stay on top of your physical fitness activities and to reduce sitting time. According to research,[5] individuals who sat for eight hours or more per day had a 59% higher risk of death than those who sat for less than four hours per day. Doing 60-75 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per day appeared to reduce the elevated risk of death. As a result, brisk walking may be beneficial in reducing the detrimental consequences of prolonged sitting.

How to make your daily walk more interesting, meaningful and fun? Here are some unique and effective tips!

Learn a new skill as you walk

Why don’t you turn your walking session as an educational one? By doing so, you can forget the boredom of walking, especially when you are alone. You could learn a new language by enrolling into some online classes where you can have a talk with a teacher or listening to a podcast. This is a very common activity for busy Japanese businessmen who work for global companies. You may also try listening to some inspirational speeches, nutrition and cooking tips, parenting, business communication skills, etc.

Make new friends

Despite the social distancing protocols, it is still possible to wave and say hello to some of the people or other walkers you see around. Give them compliments by saying, “Wow! Your cute dog makes me happy today!” or “I love your shirt!” You’re not only making their day brighter, but you’re also motivating yourself to keep going.

Change your routine

Do you always walk around the same park in your neighborhood? Why don’t you try changing your routine to discover some more beautiful places, meet new friends, see new restaurants or shops, etc. You may also change your walking time. If you usually walk in the morning, try switching to evening grinds. Adding diversity to your walking session eliminates repetition and boredom.

Dress up and use gear!

Start with the shoes. You don’t have to buy expensive ones, but make sure what you are wearing is comfortable for walking, and it is something that you really like. Next, sports bra with good support, anti-skid and sweat-wicking socks, walking pants, hats, sunglasses and sunscreen! These will give you more freedom of movement and confidence as well.

Track your step counts and enroll in remote patient monitoring program

As we mentioned earlier, increasing our daily step counts by a few thousand more strides is the most efficient way to achieve our health goals. And one way to do this is by tracking the number of steps you take every day using wearables like a smartwatch or a pedometer. To make it more efficient, ask your healthcare providers about Remote Patient Monitoring program. This is very helpful for busy people like you. This allows you to send not only your step counts, but also other vital signs such as heart rate, oxygen level, and weight to your doctor from afar. Your doctor will be able to help you achieve your health goals as you enjoy your walking sessions.

Takeaway

You are busy juggling work and family duties, but you want to raise your daily step count or simply want to walk more. One of the most effective methods is to make your walking sessions interesting, productive, and fun. Enjoy the process, and most importantly, appreciate the things that your body and mind are capable of doing.

References:

  1. YAMAX | Pedometer | About Us. (n.d.). YAMAX | Pedometer | About us. http://www.yamax-yamasa.com/aboutus/.
  2. Association Of Step Volume and Intensity with All-Cause Mortality in Older Women – PubMed. (2019, August 1). PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31141585/.
  3. Saint-Maurice, P. F., Troiano, R. P., Bassett, D. R., Graubard, B. I., Carlson, S. A., Shiroma, E. J., Fulton, J. E., & Matthews, C. E. (2017, February 1). Association Of Daily Step Count and Step Intensity With Mortality Among US Adults | Cardiology | JAMA | JAMA Network. Association of Daily Step Count and Step Intensity With Mortality Among US Adults | Cardiology | JAMA | JAMA Network. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2763292.
  4. Daily Step Count and Postprandial Fat Metabolism : Medicine & Science In Sports & Exercise. (n.d.). LWW. https://journals.lww.com/acsm-msse/Fulltext/2021/02000/Daily_Step_Count_and_Postprandial_Fat_Metabolism.10.aspx.
  5. Does physical activity attenuate, or even eliminate, the detrimental association of sitting time with mortality? A harmonised meta-analysis of data from more than 1 million men and women. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(16)30370-1/fulltext.

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