April 21, 2011

Simple Exercise: 10 000 Steps A Day

Walk your way to fitness (click for animation)

It often feels difficult to get the exercise we require to maintain fitness. But the route to health can be as simple as taking more steps per day. We need to get around anyway, and there are easy ways to incorporate more motion in your daily schedule. A bit more walking could make the difference between obesity and illness, and optimal weight and fitness.

The average person takes about 3000 - 5000 steps every day. Some are finding that a simple program of 10,000 steps a day is providing positive results. 10,000 steps is a distance of about 8 kilometers (5 miles).

In one challenge, four participants were recruited for a walking program. The goals were to lose weight and improve health. Could walking more make a difference?

The program participants were tested on various targets before and after the 6 week period. It is usually accepted that the human body needs about 10 to 12 weeks to show significant change after starting an exercise program. However, the participants showed encouraging changes in a period half as long. Maintaining our ideal weight and fitness may be that simple.

Pedometer/Step Counter
Canada's fitness guidelines were recently reduced for a reluctant and roly poly population. With only 12% of children, and less than half of adults meeting the old guidelines, officials felt that even minimal amounts of activity would have positive effects on the health of an increasingly sedentary population. And you don't want to discourage anyone before they even start.

Canada's New Fitness Guidelines

The recommended amount of active time for adults was cut from 60 minutes daily to 150 minutes weekly. Children's active time was cut from 90 minutes per day, to an hour. And people over 65, who are now being told to be active for 30 to 60 minutes per day have had that time cut to 150 minutes of moderate activity a week.

Ways To Increase Activity To 10,000 Steps A Day
  • take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • park farther away from your destination
  • walk to your destination
  • take a short walk at lunch
  • get off the bus/subway before your stop
  • use a pedometer for motivation and to record your progress (Check your music player and mobile phone as step counters are being integrated into portable electronic devices)
  • take the dog for a walk
  • take your kids for a walk
  • let your kids take you for a walk
  • team up with a walking buddy, or buddies
  • find a nice walking loop in the area around your home and/or office
  • plan walking meetings with colleagues 
  • time yourself (1000 steps in 10 minutes counts as moderate exercise)
If you are out of shape, start slowly. Increase the number of steps you take over time until you reach the target of 10,000 per day. You may want to consult with your physician before you begin this, or any other, exercise program.

Walking programs have been shown to lead to significant decreases in body mass index and blood pressure, as well promote weight loss and well-being. Nordic walking, or walking with two poles, is even better as it incorporates your upper body in a more active manner. You can burn up to 26% more calories with poles than without.

Walking is enjoyable, simple exercise. Minimal equipment, and no membership fees. Just you and your feet (and I highly recommend the poles). Enjoy your steps to fitness.


  1. Just taking a moment to let you know I love your blog, full of some great information!


  2. Rainbow Rivers,

    Thanks for visiting and taking a moment to leave a much-appreciated comment. I am glad that you are finding things useful to you here at my humble blogspot address. Thank you, also, for leaving your site address - will be checking it out today!

  3. AnonymousJune 29, 2011

    It should be noted that the 3500-5000 is based upon a 1960s Japanese study and may not accurately reflect actual activity today.


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