Walking 10,000 steps a day: is it worth it?

April 06, 2021 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

More than 60 percent of adults do not engage in the recommended amount of activity, and 25 percent are not active at all, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

We’ve become sedentary, spending much of our time seated in front of a screen. Each day, the average American spends around five hours watching TV, three hours on social media, and around six hours on computers at work.

With a significant lack in exercise and movement, there’s been a rise in heart disease, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and falls. COVID-19 pandemic restrictions have added to our inactivity.

Getting up and moving each day is imperative to health. Physical activity can help lower the risk of disease and help you live a healthier, more productive, happier life.

Many experts say we should aim for 10,000 steps a day (or around 3-5 miles daily, depending on your gait). But why? Walking 10,000 steps a day can help:

  • Strengthen your heart by helping the heart muscle become more efficient and keep your blood pressure under control. Exercising helps pump oxygen-rich blood to your lungs, organs and muscles and stimulates your lymphatic system to flow more effectively and clear waste made by the body each day.

  • Maintain weight, reduce body fat and improve muscle tone in the legs, butt and trunk. It is very reasonable for an average person to burn 200-500 calories per hour depending on their gait, speed, height, weight, age and gender. These are some serious calories that can help burn body fat and improve overall physique.

  • Regulate blood sugar levels. Exercise is a demand placed on the body and the currency for it to work is glucose. Exercising, in turn, helps stabilize your blood sugar and drive down levels of inflammation brought on by inactivity, stress and poor diet.

  • Improve brain function. The pancreas, liver, heart and lungs are not the only organs working more efficiently from exercise; the brain benefits as well. Exercise helps improve blood flow to the brain, reduce inflammation and lower stress hormones, helping with cognition and memory.

  • Improve balance and build muscle. Having proper walking mechanics and using the muscles of the legs, butt and trunk helps the biggest set of muscles in your body maintain function and stave off age-related muscle loss.

  • Boost mood. Exercise releases neurotransmitters, endorphins and other chemicals that can make us calmer, more energetic and less prone to the blues. Physical effort not only knocks out stress, it helps us sleep better, which also improves mood.

This spring, give back what your body was craving during the winter. Before you binge-watch your favorite Netflix TV show or surf your social media account, unplug, get outside and get your steps in.

If you make an effort to increase your step count each day, you may find yourself moving more overall.

Make 10,000 steps a day your goal, and watch your health and well-being improve day after day!

It’s OK if you don’t meet the 10,000 daily steps. Any amount of movement is better than none. If you haven’t exercised in a while, start out with a lower step goal and increase your daily steps over time.

Need help with your exercise routine? A fitness specialist can help you develop a fitness program that works for you.

Drive your health forward at Edward-Elmhurst Health & Fitness.

Our Fitness Centers have measures in place to keep you safe in the gym during the COVID-10 pandemic. Learn more.

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