Healthspan November 17, 2017

How walking 10,000 steps a day can help you on your weight-loss journey – and why it’s easier than it sounds…

If you’ve ever googled ‘how to lose weight’ you’re not alone. 64 per cent of adults in the UK alone are classed as being overweight or obese - which in turn puts you at greater risk of serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes – simply because we’re not active enough.

To be moderately active, the average adult should complete 150 minutes of activity each week. Sound like a lot to fit in? In actual fact, this equates to about half an hour of exercise every day – a target that’s achievable for even the busiest of us.

“The 10,000-step target equates to around the same amount of moderate activity”, explains personal trainer and wellbeing expert Nicola Addison, making walking a great option for those looking for simple ways to lose weight.

And, according to the NHS, if 30 minutes is too much too soon, you can even work your way towards your goal in manageable bursts of 10. ‘Brisk walking is simply walking faster than usual, at a pace that gets your heart pumping’, so says their Active 10 campaign.

What are the health benefits of walking?

Free, practical, and the perfect excuse to get outdoors, walking has many health benefits, including:

  • Helping to reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Reducing obesity
  • Reducing the risk of diabetes
  • Helping to reduce high blood pressure (BP)
  • Helping to ward off depression
  • Helping to alleviate lower back pain
  • Promoting healthy muscles and joints

And, according to Public Health England (PHE), a quick walk can also slash the risk of premature death in couch potatoes by up to 15 per cent.

And yet, the average person only manages to walk somewhere between the region of three and four thousand steps per day. Quite a way off from the government recommended minimum target of 8,000 – 10,000 per day.

What does 10,000 steps a day look like?

To put it all into context: 10,000 steps equate to about five miles of walking. “But if you’re active when you wake up – i.e. making your breakfast, having a shower, tidying the house etc. you’ll probably take 1000 steps without even thinking about it!” says Nicola.

“I would suggest including a 30-minute walk as an addition to your daily routine”, she advises “This can be broken down into smaller chunks initially, but aim for 30 continuous minutes.”

That sounds like a lot!

It can be initially, so it’s important to take note of your current step level initially before slowly increasing it. “If you are currently walking 4,000 steps a day, to get to 10,000 may be too large a target”, warns Nicola.

“Try increasing by 2,000 step increments at a time. When you are comfortably reaching a daily target of 6,000 it is then time to increase it to 8,000, and so on.”

How do I know if I’ve done 10,000 steps?

Using an activity-tracking device, app, or even an old -school pedometer, can keep you feeling motivated and help you hit your target. Or check out this handy guide to see if you’re on track.

But while all will count your steps as a basic function, activity trackers provide more insights into the exercise you do – including distance walked, calories burnt, type of exercise (i.e. cardio, aerobic, etc.). Plus, many offer additional features that can help contribute to losing weight.

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