How many steps do you need to take daily to lose weight and boost your health benefits levels? You may have heard that 10,000 steps a day is needed for the average person to achieve and maintain a healthy level of fitness. But where did this number come from? And why is walking, which seems rather effortless, so important in keeping fit? As it turns out, the simple act of walking improves healthy blood flow, contributes to a healthy heart, and can even crank up your metabolism, allowing you to lose more weight and get fitter quicker than those who walk less.
And regarding the 10K daily step recommendation, the Japanese came up with the magic “10,000 steps a day” figure as a marketing device to sell more pedometers. But they must have done their research, because medical authorities everywhere agree that 10,000 steps daily (approximately 5 miles) is a good number to aim for if your goals are to lose weight and get in shape. Let’s look at 10 simple ways to walk more every day that you can implement immediately and easily.
1) Know Your Numbers
One great way to get yourself walking more each and every day is to remember that it takes roughly 2,000 to 2,500 steps to equal 1 mile. When attempting to lose weight by walking, it is good to know exactly what you are up against. For instance, a 150 pound person will have burned between 80 and 90 calories after walking 1 mile at a moderate to above average pace.
A 180 pound individual will burn approximately 95 to 100 calories walking that same mile. Knowing that the more you walk the more calories you burn, and the more weight you lose, is a smart way to keep you constantly looking for opportunities to walk more during your daily routine. Also, purchase and constantly refer to a pedometer, and simply by monitoring your daily step count, you will unconsciously start walking more.
2) Change Where You Park
If you drive to work, park as far away from your usual entrance as possible. You can also walk more rather effortlessly by choosing a side or rear entrance as opposed to the traditional front door when you enter your workplace.
Depending on your personal situation, this could easily add an extra 2,000 or 3,000 walking steps during the normal five day work week. And as you will learn in walking tip number four, parking away from your coworkers has other advantages as well.
3) Walk on the Spot
When you catch yourself standing still, walk in place. You can do this all day long whether you are at home, at work or just about anywhere else. And if you do not believe that a few short steps at a slow to moderate pace will make any difference in your overall fitness levels, think again. The formula to remember is body weight x distance = energy burned walking.
Notice that speed is not mentioned in the equation. Generally, you can burn a few more calories by increasing your 1 mile walking speed to 13 minutes or less, but this is not necessary. Simply by increasing your overall walking steps gradually each day, you burn more calories. And this even works if you are simply walking in place at your cubicle.
4) Shop More = Walk More!
When shopping, practice these smart tips for health benefits boosting your walking efforts. Before you start shopping for groceries, and when you are done for the day, take one circuit of the store’s interior perimeter. And instead of trying to find the closest possible parking spot to the front of the building where you are shopping, park farther away.
Not only does this help you burn more calories and get more steps in your day, but it might also protect your vehicle from scratches and dings which are much more likely to occur when you park in a congested area full of cars and unmanned shopping carts. You can also return your cart all the way inside the store after grocery shopping to add even more walking effortlessly.
5) Get off the Bus Sooner
If you use public transportation to get to and from work, and to run chores and take care of personal business, you can quite easily choose exactly how much extra walking you do every day. Begin by getting off of your bus or metro one or two stops before your usual departure, walking the rest of the way.
This may be tough at the end of a long hard day at work, but you can definitely practice this on your way into your job. Aside from burning more calories and helping you lose weight, this activity also helps you become better acquainted with your environment. You may even be able to save some money depending on your route departure.
6) Find a Walking Buddy
This next tip will not only get you walking more every day, but it uses the wonderful power of socialization to help have a positive impact on someone else as well. Contact a friend or family member who you know would also like to lose weight and become more fit. Schedule walking sessions together, and they can be as simple as a leisurely stroll around your neighborhood, or a serious trek on a local walking trail.
With a good friend or neighbor, you will invariably find yourself becoming engrossed in conversation, and besides catching up on the latest gossip, you will inevitably end up walking more than you would if you were alone.
7) Walk After A Meal
If you are really serious about losing weight and getting fit by walking more every day, why not go big or go home and double up on your health dose? You already know that moderate walking increases your metabolism, burns fat and helps you become healthier in so many ways. But did you know that if you schedule low to medium intensity walking sessions after you eat that you also speed up your digestive system?
A 2008 study in Germany showed that walking at a slow to regular pace on a treadmill after eating a large meal sped up the rate at which food moved through the subject’s stomachs. And if you are diabetic, or at risk for diabetes, walking for just 15 minutes after you eat can actually improve your blood sugar, moving it towards healthy levels.
8) Walk to Talk to People in the Office
Here is another workplace tip to get you walking, and if you are very busy on the phone and computer interacting with coworkers during a regular workday, this one tip could prove invaluable in helping you lose weight and improve your fitness by walking more. When your boss sends you an important email which you must then forward along to your team or your coworkers, deliver the news in person.
Instead of picking up a telephone to discuss a deal or some other workplace situation, walk to your coworker’s office and have a face-to-face conversation. Pop into your boss’ office physically if there is a matter you need to discuss, instead of using the electronic options for contact. These practices could also pay corporate-ladder dividends as you will be increasing your exposure, and you could be seen as an employee that takes action.
9) Establish a Work to Walk Ratio
In today’s technology-based society, there are more people working from home than ever before. While this offers incredible freedom, it can also be a killer. Someone who was previously very active and logged thousands of steps a day at his or her previous job may now find that they are putting on weight and becoming lethargic. This means it is very important for at-home workers to walk as much as possible during the course of a typically sedentary day.
To increase your daily walking regimen, work for 25 minutes and then walk for 5. Or you could employ a 45 minute work/15 minute walk ratio to every working hour. There is an abundance of free timers and stopwatches available online, which can keep you dedicated to this simple but effective effort at improving the amount of healthy walking you participate in each day.
10) Walk Before You Watch Your Favorite Show
Did you know that in the United States alone, the average person now spends more time sitting (9.3 hours a day) than sleeping (7.7 hours a day)? That means a total of 17 hours out of each and every day you are inactive. This could be due in large part to your television viewing habits. Here are a few TV watching tips to get you walking more.
Right before your favorite television programs are about to begin, and you are going to enjoy some relaxing time on your cozy couch or recliner, take a walk around your neighborhood for 15 to 30 minutes. You can also hide the TV remote, forcing yourself to exercise by walking whenever you want to change the channel. And during commercials, get up and get active, even if you simply walk to every room in your house or apartment.
Remember, your 10,000 recommended daily steps do not have to be taken at once, and any effort made to increase your daily walking is going to pay off with excellent health benefits. This will happen whether you hit the magic 10K number or not, even with small, daily efforts. And according to a major study conducted by Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke and published in “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise” in 2004, women log a little more than 5,200 steps per day. Men total a little more than 7,100 steps per day, simply going about their regular routines.
This means finding the motivation and time to squeeze in a simple 3,000 to 5,000 extra walking steps each and every day. And going over the magic 10,000 step number just helps contribute to your overall fitness and weight loss even more. By practicing these 10 ways to walk more every day, you will quickly begin to feel better both physically and mentally, and you will also lose weight and provide a positive boost to your overall fitness levels.