Whenever we read about the importance of walking to achieve weight loss and a sound overall health, what comes to our mind is “Seriously, you want me to walk how many steps per day?”
For profound fitness, heart health, and weight control, it is recommended to walk a whopping 10,000 steps most days of the week. If you think that is no big deal, then think again. If you haven’t tracked your steps using a pedometer, you probably have no idea how many steps you take in a day. On an average, 2000 steps is about 1.6 km, so walking 10,000 steps means walking about 8 km.
Well, most of us walk briskly at about 5.6 km per hour which takes about 17 minutes per 1.6 km or about 85 minutes for 8 km. The faster your pace (MPH), the faster you can walk the 8 km. If you walk at a pace of 4 MPH, then you will take 15 minutes to walk 1.6 km or approximately one and a half hours to walk 8 km. If you walk 5 MPH (which is a jog for most folks), then it will take 12 minutes to walk 1.6 km or 1 hour to walk 8 km.
A person aged 45 and weighing 70kg can burn about 400kcal by walking 10,000 steps briskly (3 to 5mph). If you're trying to lose weight, you should aim to burn 600 more calories than you take in through food and drink every day. This is best achieved by a combination of diet and exercise.
If following the 10, 000 steps method scares you, you could simply add a pedometer and walking shoes to your expenses and take the first step towards increasing your fitness and improving your health. Here is how you can include walking to your routine:
Stay motivated: Instead of taking exercise as something to schedule into a defined period each day, aim to achieve 10,000 steps daily by moving throughout the day. Actively seek opportunities to add in some more steps here and there so that you collect steps throughout the day.
Purchase a pedometer: You'll need a pedometer to keep a track of your steps. They are found in MP3 players, as apps for smartphones and even in some pairs of shoes, but you can also buy them as a separate item. Choose a cost-effective and practical option; when selecting one, check how it clips onto your clothing or belt to make sure it's comfortable, secure and durable.
Choose a goal: For beginners, 10,000 steps a day probably seems enormous. But don't you worry, it won't take long to reach it! Begin walking as much as feels comfortable to you at the start, and then aim to increase 1,000 to 2,000 steps more each week until you're comfortably at 10,000 steps a day. There is nothing stopping you walking more than this each day, but the aim is to achieve 10,000 steps.
Set reminders to move: Initially it can be challenging to settle into a new routine, including one involving more daily movement. To remind yourself, you could set reminders on your computer, watch, MP3 player, cellphone or whatever else you have to prompt you to move for an allotted amount of time. By setting reminders, you won't forget to build up the day's steps. Eventually it'll become natural and you can stop relying on reminders.
Walking is an easy, enjoyable and generally safe exercise. It provides you with an opportunity to get out of a building and discover your local neighbourhood, park, woods, nature, etc. Don’t look at 10, 000 steps a day as a task but a way to stay engaged with your local environment. Get a friend enthused in regular walks, it's likely the two of you won't even notice the distance covered!
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