10,000 steps a day, a catchy phrase or does it have some real meaning about it. The promotion of health and the various catch phases is becoming more and more common. Push play for 30 minutes a day, 5 plus a day, 10,000 steps etc but do any of these claims have any merit or is it just a marketing scheme to sell more smart watches and activity trackers. This blog will investigate the benefits of increasing our daily step count.
How many times have you been sitting at your desk or workspace and struggled to focus? The information you are trying to take in is going in one ear and straight out the other? You have two choices, keep trying to slog on working at 50% or do something about it. Research has shown that a simple walk can increase blood flow to the brain, release neurotransmitters, and promote cell growth in the hippocampus, an area involved in memory storage. So if you are struggling to focus at work, try getting outside for a quick 10 minute walk to help de-fog your brain and help you re-focus.
Numerous studies have shown that walking 10,000 steps has a significant reduction in blood pressure. But not just blood pressure, many other cardiac conditions have shown improvement with walking.
In the past, rest was used for treatment of pain. If you had back pain, you were prescribed bed rest until your symptoms had settled. This method of treatment has been heavily contested and is no longer considered best practice. In fact the opposite is now what is recommended in the clinical guidelines. Movement and walking have been shown to be excellent for back health and gentle aerobic exercise, such as walking, has demonstrated pain modulation effects to help reduce pain.
10,000 steps for weight loss are not relevant to everyone. It depends on a couple of different factors. Firstly, what is your current level of activity? If you are someone who goes to the gym 5 days a week or cycles or swims on a regular basis then walking 10,000 steps may not have much of an effect on your weight. Secondly, looking at your diet, in conjunction with 10,000 steps a day can help with your weight loss. One of my favourite sayings is “you can’t out exercise the fork” this mean that no matter how many steps you are doing during the day, if you have a poor diet, it will be nearly impossible for you to change your weight. With all that been said, if you are someone who barely exercises and lives a sedentary lifestyle, reviewing your diet and increasing your daily step count can have a positive impact on weight loss.
I believe the main take away from this blog should not be about focusing on hitting 10,000 steps per day. For some people this is an unrealistic goal and others will already be achieving this in their workday. Whether it is counting your steps, swimming, going to the gym, cycling or any of the hundreds of other types of exercises, the main goal should be being aware of all the benefits of increasing the amount we move and finding ways to implement those changes. It could be as simple as park further away from walk and walking, getting off the bus on stop earlier, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. All these small changes can add up to a big difference in the long term.