Why it is Important to Take 10,000 Steps per Day
You have probably seen people walking around with a Fitbit around their wrist or the new Apple Watch. This new trend is not just a fashion statement. More and more people are becoming interested in incorporating fitness with their everyday lives. Hundreds of fitness bloggers have created Instagrams to persuade people to live a healthier lifestyle by eating intuitively and working out on a consistent basis. Some go to the extreme of dieting and following a workout program. In my experience as a college student, counting my calories or macros and following a day-by-day workout guide is not the most convenient thing in the world.
When I was in high school, I lived a very active lifestyle. I was on the varsity volleyball team and played club volleyball as well. I worked out every single day and my weekly schedule was fairly consistent. In college however, my schedule is not as consistent, as I am sure many of you college students can relate to. Most of my days consist of either sitting in class listening to a lecture or sitting in the library studying. I do not always have time to go to the gym or go for a short run every single day of the week like I did in high school. I then took it upon myself to make it a goal to take at least 10,000 steps per day. I invested in an Apple Watch to hold myself accountable to this goal. It also gives my wrist a small buzz to remind me when I need to get up from my desk and walk around for a little bit. I also use it to [attempt to] track the calories I eat and calories I burn throughout my day.
Why 10,000 steps?
The idea of taking 10,000 steps per day actually originated in the 1960s when a Japanese company began to sell pedometers. These pedometers were called “manpo-kei” which translates to “10,000 step meter”.
10,000 steps per day is a goal that everyone can achieve, regardless of what kind of lifestyle you live. 10,000 steps is about a 5 mile walk, which also consists of about 30 minutes of exercise per day. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, you should be exercising about 150 minutes per week. Taking 10,000 steps per day easily fulfills this requirement. Research shows that taking these 10,000 steps per day can reduce your chances of developing many chronic illnesses such as diabetes, metabolic syndromes, and other heart diseases. Taking 10,000 steps per day can also lower your blood pressure, regulate your glucose levels, and actually improve your mood. A study from Michael Roizen, a physician at the Cleveland Clinic, found that “if everyone did just 10,000 steps a day in America we would probably decrease healthcare budget by $500 billion a year” (USA Today). A simple 10,000 steps per day burns an extra 2,000–3,500 calories per week, which is also equivalent to about one pound of body fat. If weightloss is your goal, then by having the proper nutrition and intense workouts, you could lose one pound per week by taking 10,000 steps per day, of course depending on your current weight.
Don’t have enough time to workout every day? Neither do I. Here are some things you could do to add up those steps:
Take the stairs.
I know that this sounds pretty dreadful walking back to your dorm or apartment after a long day of classes, but this is a short and quick way to add up your steps while adding some intensity at the same time. Taking the stairs will feel easier every time you do it — I promise!
Especially when you have an 8am class to run off to, I know how tempting it can be to cut through all of the academic buildings and take the shortcut way to class. Give yourself extra time every morning to enjoy the fresh air and use the nice walk along Wisconsin Ave to wake yourself up in the morning.
Walk and Talk
Talking on the phone with someone is a great time for a quick stroll. This is a great way to keep yourself distracted and not even think about how many steps you’re getting in for the day.
Use this time to destress
The moment you make this 10,000 steps/day goal a chore, the harder it will be for you to achieve it. Walking and exercising is a great way to destress after a long day. Working out intensely releases the happy chemical, dopamine, and will actually give you more energy to go through your day. This is a great time to meditate and reflect on the day thus far and to think about goals for the future.