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Should You Walk 10,000 Steps A Day?

You have probably heard that you should try to walk 10,000 steps a day in order to keep healthy, but is this true and what are the health benefits if you do? While Fitbit owners will be aware of the 10,000 steps a day plan, the actual idea comes from 1960s Japan where ‘Manpo-Kei’ (which means ’10,000 steps meter’) was first popularized. But is this goal something we need to strive for, and will it really make a difference to your health?

Research has shown that, when coupled with other healthy behavior such as a good diet, taking 10,000 steps a day can lead to a decrease in illnesses like diabetes and heart disease. In fact, one physician, Michael Roizen asserts that:

“If everyone did just 10,000 steps a day in America we would probably decrease healthcare budget by $500 billion a year and that shows how few people actually do it, and two, how big a reduction in chronic disease we’d have if more did.”

However, you don’t have to hit 10,000 steps a day in order to get health benefits. The Centers for Disease and Control recommend that people do 150 hours of moderate activity each week (just 30 minutes a day), plus two days or more of muscle-strengthening activity (like going to the gym). In terms of walking, 150 minutes per week is equal to about 7,500 steps a day.

Neil Johannsen, assistant Professor in the School of Kinesiology at Louisiana State University, explained:

“10,000 steps represents that highest level in most adults… do more than what is recommended and you will see further benefits to your health.”

Of course, those who walk even more steps (such as postmen who were shown to walk 15,000 steps a day) see even greater health benefits. However, the key is to start moving, but how can you keep motivated and get those steps?

Some recommend that you buy a pedometer which can monitor your activity and keep you motivated to hit or beat your targets. Parking a little further from your destination and walking a bit further will help build up your steps, as will making sure you get up and move around for 5 or 10 minutes in every hour at work.

Also, don’t worry if you struggle to hit the 10,000 steps mark right away, aiming for a lower amount such as 3,000-4,000 will still see you cover more ground than most! If you have been living a more sedentary life it is also best to take things slow and build up your steps and exercise regime bit by bit rather than risk injury!

 

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