If you are using any form of a fitness tracker, whether it’s a watch or your smart phone – we are all familiar with the 10 000-step goal. So why specifically 10 000 steps per day? 10 000 steps add up to approximately 5 miles (±8km) per day. To reach your step goal it can be as easy as a 30 min exercise session per day. The reason for 10 000 steps / 30 minutes of exercise daily – it to comply with the health recommendations. Which are that every person should get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.
The entire idea behind step goals are to encourage everyone to live a healthier lifestyle. And focusing on a daily basis to build a better version of yourself.
If you are new to exercise or started with a new program – it is best to start slowly and progress as you get used to the program. A good indication to get more active is to track your steps taken daily. In an article that Fitbit issued (Should you really take 10 000 steps a day – 1 March 2018) – it was recommended that you add 1 000 steps each week to your daily goal. Ie. If your goal for week 1 was 6 000 steps, then your goal for week 2 would be 7 000 steps.
If your plan is to lose weight, Fitbit gave a better idea of you can manage to lose weight simply by increasing your daily step goal. Fitbit advised to first determine how much weight you want to lose & then all you have to do is a little maths. Studies have time and again proven that the best way to lose weight, and keep it off, is to slowly and gradually shed weight. Losing a lot of weight in a short while can cause may health risks – but that is a topic for another day. To ensure that your weight loss is sustainable and safe, it is advised to aim to lose no more than 500 grams of bodyweight per week.
Studies have shown that people who regularly exercise and follow a healthy lifestyle sleep better and are less prone to suffer from depression. The Harvard School of Public Health found that a short 30 minutes of walking daily, cut the average person’s stroke risk by at least 20%.
How to reach your step goal?
1. Ease into your step goals. If you haven’t been active lately and simply starting out. Start with a step goal between 6 000 and 8 000 steps per day. Add 1 000 steps every week to your daily goal as advised above.
2. Start early. Don’t wait until bed time to march up and down like a soldier to reach your goal. Take the detour, walk a little further than you usually do. Volunteer to take the dogs for a walk or to grab the coffee.
3. Set reminders. Most fitness trackers have an option to send reminders to keep you moving throughout the day. If your tracker or smart phone does not automatically set reminders, set daily reminders on your smart phone to keep you moving.
4. Dress comfortably. You are more likely to reach your step goal when you are wearing comfortable shoes, than you are wearing 10-inch heels.
5. Use your time wisely. If you are early for a meeting or coffee date with a friend. Instead of slopping down, scrolling through your social media accounts – tick off a few steps while you are waiting.
6. Work it in to your day. There is no need to completely change your daily schedule to reach your step goal. Simple changes to your daily routines can make all the difference. Using the lift every day, why not exchange it for the flight of stairs? Walking to the closest bathroom? Oh come on, you can hold it a little longer – head over to the furthest bathroom from your office desk. Collapsing on the couch after work? Why not play fetch with your dog for 10 minutes outside?
7. Challenge your friends to reach their step goals with you. A little healthy competition never killed anyone.
8. Start running. Whether you are a regular runner or newbie to running. Adding simply, one run every week will get you moving and accomplish you step goal in no time. Why not join the weekly Park Run that is hosted all across South Africa?