We’ve all heard we should be getting in 10,000 steps a day. and while it seems to be a recent trend (or fad?), it really isn’t that new. The 10,000 steps a day philosophy goes back to the 1960s, when Japanese researchers determined that the average person walked 3,500–5,000 steps a day. They also determined the average person needed to increase their steps to 10,000 to improve health and lose weight.
Obviously, 10,000 steps a day is not reasonable for some people due to health reasons or, at the very least, their current fitness levels would require a slow go. However, most of us could and should aim for 10,000 steps a day. The benefits of walking are well known, especially for women over 50. We tend to begin storing weight around our middle and consistent walking can counter that tendency. Walking can also lower our risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and it can lead to fat loss.
Now that we know there are HUGE benefits for the 50+ woman in walking 10,000 steps a day, how do we realistically get them in? While there are obvious ways to pick up your steps such as: parking your car in the spot furthest away from your destination; taking the steps instead of the elevator; and walking instead of driving to any location you frequent within a mile or two of your home; you may need to get creative to get in 10,000 steps a day on a regular basis.
1. Next time you are meeting your friend (or friends) for a coffee or drink, suggest you meet at a park convenient to you both. If the weather is bad, meet at a mall. The goal is to get in the steps, not walk so fast you can’t have a conversation. It’s also a good way to consume less calories as the coffee is often a fattening latte and we all know how wine and alcohol can add on the pounds.
2. Make your meetings “walking meetings” whenever possible. It’s a good way to keep them brief and it lessens the tension when you have something disagreeable to discuss. The idea works equally well with family members, and you’ll be helping them get in some extra steps in the day, as well.
3. Instead of ordering online, get out to a mall or other shopping area to find the things you need. While convenience is a wonderful thing, it is making us fatter. Walking around your local drugstore may ultimately be the healthiest thing you do for yourself.
4. Get to know your neighborhood. Chances are you don’t know your surroundings as well as you should. Make a plan every morning to walk a different route. The women with the most successful walking plans make it a practice to knock out half of their 10,000 steps first thing in the morning or right after breakfast.
5. Buy an Apple Watch. While pedometers and Fitbits are nice, nothing beats an Apple Watch for practicality and providing the ultimate in fitness tracking. The Apple Watch encourages you to move more, to take breaks from sitting at regular intervals, and to exercise daily for at least thirty minutes.
Before you embark on your 10,000 steps per day goal,here is something to keep in mind: One mile is equivalent to 2,000 steps, and it takes about 20 minutes to walk. A rule of thumb is, you’ll need to walk about five miles to complete 10,000 steps. Incorporating extra steps into your daily routine will make 10,000 steps a day achievable if you’ve got a plan for getting in at least half your steps in a scheduled walk sometime during the day. Remember, too, that a “walking soundtrack” can increase your endurance and improve your mood.
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