10000 steps challenge: Discover the fabulous healthy routine that can easily be added to any busy day.

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The following is a sample from my book 10,000 Steps Blueprint: The Daily Walking Habit for Healthy Weight Loss and Lifelong Fitness.  If you’re having trouble developing the “exercise habit,” then I recommend taking the “10000 steps challenge” and check this book out to find out more about a routine that can be added to any busy day.

People began measuring walking routines in the early 1970’s. Researchers have found that having a walking routine is a beneficial step to take towards health. As can be expected, the cultures with people who walk more frequently are much healthier in terms of weight, heart health and their outlook on life.

The New York Times to a look at the average daily steps taken in different cultures in a recent article which found Americans walk an average of 5,000 daily steps, while the Japanese do 7,000 and the Australians and the Swiss average almost 10,000 steps. As to be expected, Americans have a higher obesity rate than the other cultures, with the obesity rates decreasing according to the number of steps taken.  The Standard American Diet of simple carb's and refined sugars also contribute to high obesity rates.

In a study of 500,000 people, it was discovered through a 40-year analysis that those who walked regularly had a 31% decreased chance of coronary events and 32% decreased the chance of death during the experiment. This study was conducted by Harvard University. This goes to show that walking really does make a difference.

Not only does walking help with coronary events and death, but the study also found positive impacts on:

  • dementia
  • peripheral artery disease
  • obesity, diabetes
  • depression
  • colon cancer
  • erectile dysfunction.

How much were the people in the study walking? It was based on about 4,500 steps per day, taking about 30 minutes to complete.

Getting some well-needed fresh air on a daily basis by taking a walk with a family member, your kids, your dog or even alone, can increase your happiness, well-being and days on this earth. The extra vitamins that your body will get from the sun's rays will boost your energy, and you will be losing calories. If you have an iPod or an MP3 player, listening to music while going on a long walk can also improve your mood if you had a long, stressful day.

Why Walk and Not Run?

Running can be a great stress reliever and feel great, but it also involves more risk than walking. When running, you are moving at a faster speed which means less control. You are also causing more impact every time your foot hits the ground that occurs when walking. You become airborne with each stride which can end up equaling 100 tons of force on the body over the course of 1 mile. It is much easier to land wrong on your foot or trip when running, and roll an ankle. The statistics speak to this truth with 1-5% of walkers experiencing an injury, while 20-70% of runners experience one. Running is significantly harder on the body.

When planning a fundamental lifestyle change that is sensible and possible for everyone, walking is the winning choice. It is safe and sustainable for the widest selection of people. Almost everyone can commit to walking daily and thus, reap the health benefits without a significant risk on their body.

Walking and running are both great ways to lose weight, but the better choice when it comes to safety is walking. Another benefit to walking is you get the chance to stop and smell the roses. Life is beautiful and walking can help you take the time to enjoy everything that nature and society have to offer.

How Far are 10,000 Steps?

A step is something that varies from person to person. Each person has their own unique stride, but on average one stride is about 2.5 feet. With that in mind, it will take 2,000 steps to walk one mile. That calculation leads us to 10,000 steps equaling 5 miles.

So, to meet your 10,000 step goal, you need about 5 miles of walking incorporated into your daily life. Now, before your brain makes any excuses about 5 miles being unattainable, remember you will include all of the normal walking you already do each day. After a few days, you can calculate how much additional walking you need to incorporate into your schedule.

Let’s Get to the Nitty Gritty

To get the most out of your step walking, it should be customized to your unique stride. To figure your stride length out,  follow these simple steps:

  1. Stand with your feet together and make a mark in front of your toes.
  2. Take 10 normal steps. Stop and mark this spot.
  3. Take a tape measure and measure how long this distance is.
  4. Divide that number by 10.
  5. Now a mile is 5,280 feet. Divide your stride length into 5,280 feet and you get your steps per mile.
  6. Then you can divide 10,000 steps, by your steps per mile, and find out how many miles that you need to walk to meet your goal.

You can make it really easy on yourself by purchasing a pedometer and keeping track of your steps that way.

What Kind of Lifestyle Are you Living?

Now we know the goal is about 10,000 steps or about 5 miles per day. Once we are taking this many steps each day, where will that put us in terms of our lifestyle? The National Center for Biotechnology Information has studied the population and activity levels and came up with a breakdown to rate your lifestyle. Here is what they came up with:

  • <5,000 steps = sedentary lifestyle
  • 5,000 to 7,499 = low active lifestyle
  • 7,500 to 9999 = somewhat active
  • 10,000 to 12,499 = active
  • 12,500 and up = very active

By completing your daily 10,000 steps you will officially be a member of the active lifestyle club! That is where we all should be to ensure our health and happiness.

Where Do You Want to Go?

So you know how far 10,000 steps is, but now you have to figure out where to go. 10,000 steps is the equivalent of about 5 miles, or you individual calculate distance. You could really get somewhere with that many steps to take! Is there an area that you have yet to see, or you've only seen driving by? If there is, go check it out on foot. This new goal is a great excuse to go out and walk somewhere you have never been.

To learn more, I encourage you to check out my book 10,000 Steps Blueprint: The Daily Walking Habit for Healthy Weight Loss and Lifelong Fitness to start adding a powerful walking habit to your daily routine.

7 thoughts on “10000 steps challenge: Discover the fabulous healthy routine that can easily be added to any busy day.”

  1. Nice article about the 10k steps. Makes me want to keep reading and get BACK to my walking days! Thanks.

    • Scott,

      I’ve actually upgraded to new levels – I’m doing P90 now from Beachbody and once I’m finished and rested, will start another program… Want to get back and do more cardio, and perhaps some biking!

  2. Hello Jorge, I enjoyed your post. When I first started reading, I couldn’t help but wonder if you were speaking in terms of walking ten thousands steps in order to achieve your dreams. To better explain myself, such as what you said, the longer a person goes after a habit with persistence, consistency, and constant motivation, they end up developing a mastery over the craft. Now so, it happens as children, our first major challenges are learning how to talk, speak, and the basic functions in life. We don’t give up on those passions and continue until we end up running all over the house as children.

    Keeping that in mind, by the time a child grows up, they lose their interest to keep on thriving and fighting to achieve what they want. So after I read your post, I really enjoyed it because it gives me a firm reminder that it’s important to build a healthy lifestyle. We start off by taking walks to go further and further. By taking those steps, it often starts off as the beginning of productivity for a person.

    • Michael,

      I agree what you say about persistence. Like Gladwell pointed out in the book, “Outliers” it takes over 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to “master” anything. It does take effort to keep pushing forward to achieve just about anything of value.

  3. I never said it was the only thing. YOU can’t walk and eat cheeseburgers, agreed. Healthy eating is essential for weight control.

    But you do not need to spend hours in a gym. Coupled with healthy eating daily walking is GREAT exercise for losing weight. Nothing is a “miracle”, but it is the perfect baseline. My mother (who is 68) has lost over 40 pounds over the last 6 months just watching what she eats and walking 10k plus steps daily.

    • Ok Good that we are on the same page about eating and moving. Thanks for your reply. Hard work doesn’t really sell well in the exercise world. Great to hear that your mother has been listening to your advice as well.

    • I totally agree. When I first started on my weight loss goal, the only exercise I did was walking. I combined that with healthy food and lost my first 30 pounds that way.

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