Scientists have known for decades that taking 10,000 steps a day can improve your health in a multitude of ways. However, this simple strategy can also improve other aspects of your life by helping you find love and adventure. All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other.
Where Did the 10,000 Steps A Day Recommendation Come From?
The idea that taking 10,000 steps a day can have a drastic impact on your overall health became popular in the 1960s. Japanese pedometers popularized the theory under the name “manpo-kei,” which translates to “10,000 steps meter.”
Modern research has discovered that taking 10,000 steps a day can have a positive impact on a long list of chronic illness, including diabetes and heart disease. A recent study found that postal workers in Glasgow, Scotland, who walked 15,000 steps a day had substantially fewer risk factors for heart disease than their more sedentary counterparts with desk jobs.
“If you look at it, 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,” explained Michael Roizen, a physician and chief wellness officer at Cleveland Clinic.
Mental Health Benefits
Walking can also improve your mental health. Science shows that getting in 10,000 steps a day can slow mental decline, improve sleep and relieve the symptoms of depression. A study from California State University found that a lift in mood correlated with the number of steps taken in a day. According to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, walking for just 30 minutes a day decreased stroke risk by no less than 20 percent.
How Many Miles is 10,000 Steps?
Ten thousand steps may sound like a lot, but just how many miles does this actually add up to? When you talk about thousands of anything, it can seem overwhelming. In reality, taking 10,000 steps is equal to walking approximately five miles, which sounds much more comfortable to achieve. A pedometer, such as a Fitbit, can help you keep track of your steps. You may be surprised at how easy it really is to integrate 10,000 steps into your day. Just a few brisk walks, about 30 minutes each, every day.
While the Center for Disease Control doesn’t recommend taking 10,000 steps specifically, one brisk 30-minute walk every day does meet the CDC’s recommendation of at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.
How Walking Can Improve Other Aspects of Your Life
Taking 10,000 steps a day can put you on the path to achieving more than just better health. Your 10,000 steps can improve other areas of your life as well. The secret to this is to put your steps to work for you. With a little planning, you can use your daily 30-minute walks. Improving your relationships and seeking out adventures that will keep you thriving, and young at heart.
Walking to improve relationships
You can use your 10,000 steps to improve your relationships. Use your walking as an opportunity to spend time with your spouse and share the benefits that walking can bring. Not just the benefits of walking, but also the benefits of uninterrupted talking with your partner. Walk with your children and enjoy the chance to watch them explore the world around them. Use your time walking to reconnect with a friend you haven’t spent time with in a while. Focus not just on the act of walking, but rather on bonding with your loved ones.
Walking for adventure
Walking doesn’t have to be boring. There is no rule that you can’t take your 10,000 steps while on the adventure of a lifetime. Spend some time taking in the beauty of nature by walking in the woods, which can have a healing effect all on its own. Maybe you’ve always dreamed of walking the Appalachian Trail or backpacking across Europe. Nothing dictates where you take your steps but you. Sharing these once in a lifetime experience with someone close to you to can make it that much more meaningful. Or you can just walk to discover new adventures in your neighborhood. You’ll be surprised by all the fascinating things you’ll see when you’re on foot instead of in your car.
Other ways to make your steps count
If you put your mind to it, you can come up with a neverending list of ways to not only get your steps in every day but to make sure they count in more ways than one. Walk through your neighborhood and explore areas you haven’t spent much time in. Stroll through a section of your city that you’ve never been to before. A daily stroll through your town can help you build deeper roots in your community.
Maybe try walking meditation. Although it certainly isn’t for everyone and is often considered an acquired taste, this can be a way to help improve your mindfulness while taking your 10,000 steps a day. Walking meditation is a form of meditation in action where the focus is on the act of walking. Most people are said to find walking meditation easier than other forms of meditation because it is easier to stay aware of your body while you are in motion. Once you have learned one form of meditation, it is that much easier to learn others. This means that walking meditation can be a good way to begin the practice of meditation.
So, get out there and start walking today. You might be surprised where the journey takes you. With just 10,000 steps a day you can find health, love, and adventure.
Featured image via Wikimedia Commons