Have you ever wondered…
Can 10,000 steps a day keep the doctor away?
Can 10,000 steps a day help me fit into my favorite jeans?
To combat inactivity, many people have started counting their steps using a pedometer or other fitness tracker with a goal of reaching 10,000 steps per day.
So once you have set your goal of 10,000 steps a day, how do you keep yourself accountable?
Keep reading for everything you need to know about setting the right step goal, counting your steps, and keeping yourself on track for success!
The 10,000 Step Goal
By now a lot of people may have heard that the 10,000 steps a day is the recommended formula to stay healthy and even lose weight.
But who decided that? And is it really true?
While there is no definitive medical research proving that exactly 10,000 steps a day will prevent chronic disease or help you lose weight, there is research that people who move more are slimmer and have a lower BMI. And in turn, lower BMI can be an indicator of better health and lower risk of conditions like chronic heart disease.
Walking can also improve balance, coordination, strengthen bones, and boost your immune system!
There are also mental health benefits to walking including lowered anxiety, stress, and even depression.
So with all these health benefits, why wouldn’t you try it?
Distance and Calorie Burn
Although there is not a detailed scientific explanation for the number 10,000, the overall distance travelled and calories burned from that level of activity has shown to help people lose weight and stay healthier.
Taking 10,000 steps a day is about 5 miles of walking! So, if you’re used to having a sedentary lifestyle, these 10,000 steps could make a huge difference in improving your cardiovascular system and even help you lose weight.
In terms of weight loss, 10,000 steps can help an individual burn anywhere between 200 and 500 calories depending on your current weight, the intensity of the steps, and even your genetic makeup.
Remember that even though 10,000 is not a magic number, walking and moving more can make a big difference in achieving better health outcomes.
Keep reading to find out how to set your step goal and stick to it!
Set Your Step Goal
If you’re relatively new to exercise, you may start with a goal under 10,000 steps and work your way up over the next several days or weeks.
If you’re already taking 10,000 steps a day and are looking for a new challenge or want to continue losing weight you may want to increase your goal to over 10,000 steps.
Whatever your goal, make sure it is a SMART one. The basics of the SMART goal setting technique are as follows:
S: Specific – set an exact number of steps instead of just saying that you want to ‘walk more‘
M: Measurable – you should be able to confirm you met your goal, in this case you may need to get an app on your phone to count steps or purchase a fitness watch or pedometer
A: Attainable – challenge yourself but don’t set yourself up for failure by making the goal totally out of reach
R: Realistic – much like the attainable guideline, be sure that your step count is realistic. If you only take 1,000 steps a day now, jumping up to 10,000 right away might not be realistic
T: Timely – this is a big one! Make sure your goal is set for a particular amount of time. So, is your step goal daily? Is it an average over the week? Do you want to hit it every day for a month, three months, a year?
Read even more about the SMART goal setting strategy to increase the likelihood of your success!
Once you have your SMART goal, you’re ready to start counting your steps!
Counting Your Steps
The easiest way to start counting and tracking your steps over time is by using your cell phone! Most smartphones have a health app already installed included and equipped with a pedometer.
If you don’t typically have your cell phone with you when you exercise and still want to count your steps, consider one of these fitness trackers. If those are a little out of your price range or seem too complicated, choose a simpler pedometer.
Pedometers and fitness watches are pretty accurate when it comes to counting your steps, but there is always some variation. Even technology isn’t perfect!
By using a device to count your daily steps you will hold yourself accountable and be more likely to succeed in your step goal. If after dinner you notice you are just 300 steps shy of your goal, you’re more likely to take a few trips up and down the stairs to reach that goal.
And remember that all steps count, not just those during exercise. All those times you go up and down your stairs at home counts as steps!
Don’t think about your step goal as a burden, think of it as an opportunity to get creative on how you move.
Enjoy dancing? Great! Those dance moves will help you rack up steps on your way to your goal.
Time for spring cleaning? Vacuuming, dusting, and putting away dishes can also add up to more steps than you expect.
Counting your steps and reaching your step goal can be a rewarding experience and may encourage you to set other personal goals.
Now Let’s Get Stepping!
Gather your friends, family, or coworkers and start a group on Facebook for a walking challenge for additional motivation and accountability.
It doesn’t matter if you’re walking outside, or binge-watching some TV while walking on a treadmill. Just get those steps in!
What are you waiting for? Start counting your steps today!
For more articles on health-related topics, check out our blog!