Many of us would have heard about the concept of walking 10,000 steps per day. It was a Japanese concept that later became popular across the world over the years. Currently, the World Health Organization (WHO), US Department of Health & Human Services, US Centre for Disease Control, US Surgeon General, American Heart Foundation, and the National Heart Foundation of Australia all recommend that an individual should take 10,000 steps a day to improve their health and reduce the risk of diseases.
10,000 steps per day roughly translates into 8 kilometers. The number 10,000 looks magical and strikes a chord with many of us. So, what are the benefits of walking 10,000 steps per day?
Here are the 10 benefits of walking.
1. High energy levels: It boosts your energy levels. You feel energetic and active with lots of energy to do your daily activities. Your lethargy comes down.
2. Enhances your mood: It improves your mood. When you walk, your body releases feel-good hormones, and these feel-good hormones boost your mood.
3. Promotes weight loss: When you walk for 10,000 steps a day, calories are burnt, and eventually it leads to weight loss when it is sustained for a period of time.
4. Boosts your immunity: High immunity levels are essential to protect yourself from seasonal flus and other diseases. When you walk regularly, your immunity is strengthened.
5. Improves sleep: Your sleep becomes deeper, and your sleep quality improves. Good quality sleep is very important for the body to repair and rejuvenate.
6. Reduces the risk of lifestyle diseases: Many lifestyle diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart stroke occur due to leading a sedentary lifestyle. By walking every day 10,000 steps, the risk of the occurrence of these lifestyle diseases is reduced.
7. Reduces stress: Stress is a common modern-day issue. Stress levels come down when you walk every day.
8. Improves overall health: This practice improves the health of all the important and major systems of your body, resulting in the improvement of overall health.
9. Gives a sense of accomplishment: Walking 10,000 steps per day is a health goal, and when you achieve it, you feel the joy of accomplishing something great.
10. Inspires you to lead a better lifestyle: When you practice one good thing, you are motivated to do many more good things in a day like eating healthy, sleeping early etc. It becomes a chain reaction and leads to a better lifestyle.
11. Improves alertness. When you walk, your mind becomes active, and your alertness improves.
These are some benefits of walking 10,000 steps per day.
So, how to make this an everyday practice? Below are some tips.
1. Start small. If you are right now leading a sedentary lifestyle, suddenly don’t aim for 10000 steps per day. It becomes an unrealistic goal, and something difficult to accomplish. Start with something as small as 1000 steps per day and gradually increase the number of steps with each day.
2. Use a pedometer. You can buy a pedometer band that you can wear on your wrist, or you can also install a pedometer app on your mobile. When you use a pedometer, your motivation levels are high to achieve your goal. Numbers motivate a human mind greatly.
3. Have a dedicated time. You cannot reach your target of walking 10,000 steps per day by just doing daily chores. It needs some dedicated time for walking. So have such dedicated time in your schedule and walk.
4. Identify opportunities to walk. In your daily life, identify all the opportunities where you can walk. Can you walk to the nearby grocery store instead of going in a vehicle? Can you walk your kids to school? Can you park your car at a distance and walk? Identify all such opportunities to walk.
5. Make it a 30-day challenge. When you are just starting to make walking every day a habit, it is easy to lose motivation after a few days and fall back on old tendencies of leading a sedentary lifestyle. So, create a 30-day challenge. This will motivate you to stick to the goal for 30 days, and after that, it becomes your habit.
6. Add fun. Make walkinga fun exercise. Walk with your family members or friends and have conversations. Listen to your favorite music. Listen to podcasts or audiobooks while walking. All these will make you stick to walking.
7. Reward yourself. When you reach your goal of walking10,000 steps per day, reward yourself in some way. You can write a love note to yourself or do something that makes you happy. When you reward yourself, you will be motivated to further continue your journey.
8. Have a buddy. Join a group of like-minded people or have a buddy who has the same goal of walking 10000 steps per day. This makes it easier and fun.
9. Walk in nature. If you have accessibility to nature like a park or some green place nearby, walk there. Walking in nature amplifies many benefits. Nature heals and rejuvenates you.
10. Practice mindfulness. While you are walking, you can practice mindfulness. This makes you meditative and de-stresses you greatly. It also brings peace and inner calmness.
11. Add gratitude. While walking, you can also think of all the good things you are grateful for in your life. When you practice gratitude, you feel great and happier. Also, gratitude is a great attitude to change one’s life.
These are some ways to start this great practice of walking 10,000 steps per day.
This simple practice can be started right today. It does not need any machines or complicated tools. It does not need any training. All it needs is your desire to walk. Yet, it brings several benefits. This single practice alone can bring you amazing levels of health and fitness. So, don’t wait or postpone anymore. Start this practice right away and reap the goodness of life.