10,000 steps a day is the goal! We’ve all hear this a thousand times . . . but why?
In 2004 the Global Corporate Challenge (GCC) looked at 60,000 workers in 55 countries who aimed to walk 10,000 steps every day for eight months. At the end of the challenge, 67% of participants reported an increase in fitness and energy levels and participants lost an average of 5kg each – just from walking!
After four months, the number of GCC participants with high blood pressure had reduced by 34 percent, while waist size was reduced by an average of 5 cm.
The ones that kept walking 10,000 steps a day, for a further 1 year were able to maintain blood pressure, keep the weight off and decrease their BMI. They also reduced significant risk factors for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
8 Reasons to aim for 10,000 steps at least 5 days a week:
- It strengthens you heart: Regular walking has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. It lowers levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol and keeps blood pressure in check. A study conducted at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that moderate-intensity walking was just as effective as jogging at lowering risk of high blood pressure and better for you knees.
- Boost Vit. D level: Walking outside in daylight boosts your body’s stores of vitamin D – a nutrient hard to get from food, but that our bodies synthesise from exposure to sunlight
- It gives you energy and betters your mood: It might seem like a paradox (and the last thing you might feel like) but a brisk walk is one of the best natural energizers around. A brisk walk can boost your mood and may even help you treat depression. A Portuguese study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that depressed adults who walked for 30 to 45 minutes five times a week for 12 weeks showed marked improvements in their symptoms when medication alone did not help.
- Tones your legs, bum – and tum: Regular and good walking can help strengthen and shape your legs, calves, quads, hamstrings and lift your glutes (buttock muscles) – especially if you add hills.
- Walk to manage your weight: Researchers at Harvard University and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston followed more than 34,000 normal-weight women for more than 13 years. They found that, over time, the women who ate a standard diet and walked for an hour a day (or did some other similar moderate-activity exercise) were able to successfully maintain their weight. Avoiding weight gain might be as simple as taking a walk
- Walk to Protect against Dementia: Walking, which improves cerebral blood flow and lowers the risk of vascular disease, may help you stave off dementia, the cognitive loss that often comes with old age. According to the 2014 World Alzheimer’s Report, regular exercise is one of the best ways to combat the onset and advancement of the disease. In addition, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh conducted brain scans on seniors and found that walking at least six miles a week was linked to less brain shrinkage.
- Walk to Prevent Osteoarthritis: Walking is a great form of weight-bearing exercise, which helps prevent the bone-thinning condition osteoporosis, as well as osteoarthritis, the degenerative disease that causes joint pain, swelling, and stiffness. Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, found that people who participated in moderate aerobic activities such as walking have the healthiest knees because walking can help maintain healthy cartilage.
- Reduce the risk of a Stroke: A large, long-term study reported in Stroke, a journal of the American Heart Association, found that women who walked at a brisk pace for exercise had a much lower chance of having a stroke than those who didn’t walk. Researchers credit this to walking’s ability to help lower high blood pressure, which is a strong risk factor for stroke.
Sounds pretty good to me! So, my October challenge to you is try adding 2,000 steps a day to your total until you reach 10,000 a day and see how you feel?