Walking has been shown to offer significant health benefits. It’s also an exercise with the lowest dropout rate. So once you get started, you’ll be less likely to stop.
How Much Should I Walk?
The magic number is 10,000 steps, which equates to about five miles. You’ll see the number as a daily target goal in the recommendations of nearly any reputable health organization. Surprisingly, the 10,000 steps idea wasn’t originally based on scientific evidence but was started as part of a slogan by a Japanese pedometer company.
Since then, research has confirmed that 10,000 steps is indeed a milestone number that provides great health benefits.
Do I Have To Hit 10,000 Each Day?
Of course not. 10,000 steps is a nice, round number. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that adults engage in 150 minutes of moderate activity a week, such as brisk walking. To meet that recommendation, you would only need to walk about 7,000 to 8,000 steps a day. The average American walks about 5,900 steps a day, so adding a brisk 30 minute walk every day will help most of us hit the CDC’s numbers.
Can I Use My Hot Tub To Warm Up Before Walking?
Here’s where your hot tub can really help. Spending 20 minutes in your hot tub before you walk can prepare you mentally and physically for any exercise. The water will passively warm up your muscles by increasing circulation, raising your body temperature and making muscles more flexible. Stretching will be easier with less risk of pulling a muscle. For walking, you can do some light stretching right in your hot tub. If you put in a good strenuous workout, you can also use your hot tub to relax and stretch afterward.
How Should I Start?
If you’re concerned that you’re not healthy enough to reach 10,000 steps, it’s imperative that you check with your doctor before starting any physical program. If you’re certain you’re able to do it, the National Institute of Aging still recommends increasing your range by 1,000 steps a day and maintaining that level for a week before adding another 1,000 steps. The idea is to add steps each week until you’re up to 10,000 a day.
How Do I Keep Track Of My Steps?
There are several ways to keep track of your walking:
- You could count the steps you take in five minutes and use the time you’ve walked to calculate your step total. It’s absolutely free.
- Today’s fitness trackers are amazingly accurate and many are small enough to just toss in your pocket. Others fit on your wrist. As an added benefit, studies have found that wearing a fitness tracker actually motivates the wearer to reach higher numbers.
- If you don’t mind walking with your smart phone there are apps that provide the same sort of information as fitness trackers. But before you add an app, check to see if your phone came with one. Many iPhone users may be surprised that a health tracker is already installed on their phones, capable of tracking daily steps and calculating averages.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Walking 10,000 Steps A Day?
The health benefits are substantial. Not only can you burn 20 percent of your caloric intake for the day, other possible benefits include increased energy and stamina, reduced blood pressure, better sleep, reduced stress and decreased anxiety.
But even if you don’t hit the magic number every day, according to the American Heart Association 30 minutes of walking every day can help:
- Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
- Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels
- Improve blood lipid profile
- Maintain body weight and lower the risk of obesity
- Enhance mental well being
- Reduce the risk of osteoporosis
- Reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer
- Reduce the risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes
You can also burn 20%-30% more calories just by increasing your walking speed.
Try incorporating a walking program right after your 20-minute hot tub soak every day. Those two routines will do wonders for your daily wellness and state of mind!
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Have you begun to try walking as a way to benefit your health? We’d love to hear from you and learn a few things about what works for you. For instance, do you use your hot tub before or after walking, and if so, what benefits have you noticed? Do you use a fitness tracker or your phone to keep track of your steps and has it motivated you to do more? We’d really love to hear from people who try to hit that magic 10,000 steps mark every day and discover what it’s done for them.
Please leave a comment and tell us about your journey!
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