Posted December 24, 2014
Walking is touted as an exercise that fits any budget and meets a range of physical and fitness goals. But people often wonder how many steps they should take each day. The number will vary depending on what your health issues are and the physical objectives you want to achieve.
Engaging in regular exercise helps improve your attitude and outlook on life while also enhancing your overall health. Wellsource reports that a regular fitness activity, such as walking, makes a difference in several ways. Here are just a few:
- Builds strength and increases energy
- Promotes cardiovascular fitness, reducing the risk for heart disease
- Helps control appetite, making weight loss easier
- Relieves stress, helps depression and enhances sleep
How many steps?
If you’re currently not in a walking program, start by using a pedometer to count your steps. Next, chart out a plan for adding 1,000 to 2,000 steps every few weeks.
Medical professionals recommend taking 10,000 steps daily to lose weight or keep it under control and to lower the risk for developing high blood pressure or Type 2 diabetes. If you already work out regularly, you may want to set a goal of 15,000 steps daily.
People with health conditions, such as arthritis, may want to set less ambitious goals to protect their joints and knees. Start by walking 3,000 steps daily with a target goal of 6,000. According to a study published in Arthritis Care & Research, people with knee arthritis who walked an average of 6,000 steps daily, two years later had fewer problems standing, walking or climbing stairs.
Adding steps to your day
If you’re wondering how to add more steps to your day’s activities, here are 10 suggestions:
1. Avoid the elevator and take the stairs
2. Before starting your day’s activities, take a 15-minute walk
3. If you take the bus or train, hop off early and walk the rest of the way
4. When shopping, park your car away from the entrance and once inside, walk the entire area
5. Instead of scheduling a sit-down meeting, see if the other person is willing to walk and talk
6. During lunch or break, lace up your walking shoes and take a quick tour around the block
7. After work, avoid the couch and head outside for a short walk
8. Take your favorite canine friend for a walk
9. Instead of standing, jog in place
10. If it’s too cold or dark outside, turn on an exercise video or dance for a few minutes