- Health experts these days often recommend walking 10,000 steps a day as a personal goal to fitness.
- It serves as a motivational guideline to push people to exercise and move more.
- Walking is chock full of benefits such as promoting cardiovascular health, building stronger lungs, muscles, and bones, and simply making you feel good and energized.
Walking 10,000 steps a day is often recommended as a simple motivational tool to help you focus your efforts throughout the day.
Although it sounds quite overwhelming at first, the goal is actually doable. It is equivalent to around eight kilometres, or one hour and 40 minutes walking, depending on your stride length and walking speed. Of course, you don’t have to do all the steps in one walk, but to achieve the daily 10,000-step goal you need to either do a 30-minute walk or the equivalent in other exercises.
Why 10,000 steps?
The goal of 10,000 steps each day is a great way to encourage yourself to get up and move more. It is a sensible goal embraced by health experts for improving your health and cutting back risks of disease.
There are plenty of benefits of walking more. Once you start moving, you get to experience the following 10 top health benefits.
1. Promote heart health
Taking walks regularly amplifies the amount of oxygen-filled blood being transported to your muscles. So the fitter you are, the more easily this occurs.
2. Strengthen your lungs
Daily physical activities fuels your lungs and surrounding muscles. The higher the rate and volume of oxygen is inhaled, the greater “VO2 max” you get. VO2 is a measurement that refers to the body’s ability to use oxygen efficiently, and the healthier you are, the higher your VO2 max.
3. Boost your concentration
Physical activity stimulates the release of feel-good hormones such as endorphins and also increased blood circulation to the brain, resulting in improved mental function. Besides being a mood booster, walking also increases brain activity, which in turn, enhances creativity, productivity, and focus.
4. Build stronger bones
Walking is a weight-bearing exercise that places added stress on your bones, resulting in improved density and stronger bones. Aside from promoting bone health, walking or running also betters muscle strength and coordination as well as balance which reduces your osteoporosis risks in later life.
5. Strengthen muscles
Walking tones the leg and helps in building leaner muscles which aid in burning more calories. This type of physical activity increases your range of motion which shifts the pressure and weight from your joints to your muscles, hence, fuelling muscle growth and strength.
6. Keep blood sugar levels at a healthier range
Doing moderate exercises like walking tend to make your heart beat faster and breathing a bit harder. Your muscles also use more glucose in your bloodstream. Over time, this can keep your blood sugar levels down and helps the insulin in your body work better.
7. Stabilize blood pressure
Getting in your daily steps can prevent high blood pressure by alleviating the stiffness of your blood vessels thereby encouraging blood to flow more freely.
8. Increase flexibility
Not only does walking help restore flexibility, but it can also increase lubrication and delivery of nutrition to your joints. When this happens, posture can be corrected, risks for injury lessened and the frequency of aches and pains experienced during the day are minimized.
9. Raise energy levels
Walking may be better than napping when it comes to bolstering energy levels and resisting fatigue. Studies show that regular exercise can increase energy levels while supporting the heart and maintaining circulation.
10. Uplift your mood
If depression or anxiety has you feeling tired and unmotivated throughout the day, walks can clear your mind, improve your mood and increase your energy. Also, it releases endorphins, serotonin and dopamine, all of which are key neurotransmitters that contribute to mood control.
Source: Reader’s Digest