Americans love their fitness trackers according to a Gallup annual Health and Healthcare survey. In 2019, about 19% or almost one in five U.S. citizens reported sporting wearable fitness trackers and health apps. This includes fitness trackers calculating every step you take each day aiming to reach the gold standard of 10,000 steps a day.
However, not everyone tracking their number of steps is always able to meet that standard. Blame it on not enough time, energy, or interest, for some, 10,000 steps is an elusive number to reach on a regular basis.
Why is 10,000 the goal often cited to meet? Because accumulating 10,000 steps in one day adds up to about five miles each day. Individuals who meet this goal would be satisfying the Center’s for Disease Control (CDC) recommendations of at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Another reason for the 10,000 step goal per day is that walking this distance will burn between 35 and 120 calories per mile. If you are attempting to lose weight, this can be a sensible and safe manner in which to do so. But that also depends on your pace, whether you’re walking outdoors or indoors, temperature, along with other factors.
The benefits of walking
Walking is also a perfect cardiovascular exercise helping lower your heart rate, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose levels helping reduce your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Every one of us has different abilities and different needs when it comes to fitness. Anyone recovering from an injury or serious illness should start off slowly to prevent any further damage and only with their doctor’s approval. When first starting out, start small. See what your baseline walking is for about three days and then try to increase from there. In the beginning, don’t worry about how fast or how far you’ve walked. Consistency is key. As you continue to walk daily, you will gradually get better by walking a little faster and a little further than the day before.
Creative ways to reach 10,000 steps a day
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Take a walk during your lunch break
- Park in the space farthest from the door in every parking lot
- When brewing your morning coffee, walk around the kitchen
- While brushing your teeth, pace around your bathroom
- When at work, use the bathroom farthest from your desk
- If you need to run an errand and the store is close by, walk there instead
- Have a dog? Take it out for its daily walk longer than usual
- Turn on music and dance around your house
- Meet up with a friend and take a walk through a park or walking trail
- When watching TV, pace the room when commercials come on
- Pick up litter around your office or neighborhood
- Do yardwork of pulling weeds, raking leaves, or push mowing the lawn
- When you go to the grocery store, take a lap around the entire store before shopping
- If possible, walk to work or walk your kids to and from school
- Join a walking or hiking group
- Instead of sending an email to a co-worker while at work, walk over to your co-worker’s desk
- If you take public transportation, get off one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way
- Walk and talk at the same time when using your cell phone at home
- Go on a walking date with your significant other, strolling through beautiful neighborhoods or parks
- Jump rope without a rope (or even with a rope too!)
Dr. David Samadi is the Director of Men’s Health and Urologic Oncology at St. Francis Hospital in Long Island.
Dr. Samadi is also the author of The Ultimate MANual, Dr. Samadi’s Guide to Men’s Health and Wellness, available online both on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Visit Dr. Samadi’s websites at robotic oncology and prostate cancer 911.