Walk This Way!
Decoding the mystery around daily step count.
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The experts agree: at any age, keeping your body moving is essential for health and longevity. I know, I know; the intention is there, but it’s hard to make the time for a workout. But, friends, don’t overthink it. One of the easiest ways to add movement to your day is by making sure you’re getting enough daily steps. Just walk. But, how much?
Tom has been wearing a fitness smartwatch for a long time, but has managed to lose two of them in the last year while surfing. After going without one for a while, he was surprised to realize how much he had relied on his daily step count as a method of weight management. The numbers on the scale went up.
Given upcoming Mother’s Day and Allison’s birthday (can you tell who’s holding the proverbial pen at the moment?), buying a third fancy smartwatch after sending two to an unceremonial burial at sea was off the table. So, recently he just bought an old fashioned pedometer for $24.
No, the pedometer does not give him that rewarding vibration when he’s hit 10,000 steps, nor does it receive texts from Allison reminding him to pick up Cheddar Cricket Chips from Whole Foods (bonus shoutout to one of Allison’s favorite podcast episodes about the global potential of insect consumption), but it has resulted in Tom getting more steps in and an almost effortless return to his goal weight.
Above, a fitness walker has her walking path projected onto her face.
So how many steps daily do you really need to increase your longevity?
Checkout this data from the American Heart Association:
Compared with a group of people logging almost 4,000 steps daily, risk of death from any cause was reduced by:
49% for 5,500 steps a day
55% for 7,400 steps a day
67% for 11,500 steps a day
For deaths from cardiovascular causes, compared with about 2,350 steps a day, risk fell by:
16% for 4,000
49% for 6,700
67% for 10,400 steps a day
A study published this spring found that people who walked briskly for 8,000 steps once or twice a week had a 14.9% lower risk of death over the next 10 years than those who were more sedentary.
Basically, adding any additional steps to your day will benefit your overall health, but shooting for 7,000-10,000 daily steps is going to have major positive health implications.
Tips for getting more steps in:
Pace around your house or take a walk while on phone calls.
Walk for 30 minutes on your lunch break (this will also reduce that tired feeling after eating)
Park further away in parking lots from your main destination (this tip came from Tom’s nutrition professor in college and he’s never forgotten it).
Take the stairs.
Set hourly reminders to get up and move.
Take your pet for a walk. (Fun fact: Allison attempted–and failed–to leash train our first pet together, a slightly feral Maine Coon named Rocky)
Walk around the block after dinner, which will also burn those extra calories.
Shop in stores instead of online.
Invest in a pedometer or fitness tracker (and try not to lose it in the ocean).
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