The Magic of 10,000 Steps a Day

Healthy LifestyleIf you put on a pedometer today, how many steps do you think you would get?

You’ve probably heard that you should walk 10,000 steps in a day, but do you think you’d easily reach that number or would it be a challenge? We wanted to answer that question for ourselves.

Recently, a number of Rocky Mountain Health Plan’s employees received a Fitbit device as part of a wellness pilot program. The program measures motivation, activity levels, and physical changes throughout participation. Goals are being set, steps and sleep are being measured, and motivational tips are flying!

But…one thing the employees have noticed is how difficult it can be to reach 10,000 steps.

So, why is there a focus on 10,000 steps?

10,000 steps is roughly equivalent to the Surgeon General’s recommendation to accumulate 30 minutes of activity most days of the week. Research has shown this amount of activity can reduce your risk for diseases and help increase your quality of life. 10,000 steps, it turns out, is a lot! We thought we were pretty healthy in general, but in order to reach this goal, we had to increase our efforts throughout the day.

Whether or not you have a Fitbit, trying to walk 10,000 steps is a great fitness goal. Since we know firsthand how challenging it can be, we asked three people who consistently reach 10,000 steps what they do to reach that goal.

People Of Color Group Walk Follow Direction Leader.

Participant 1:

“When I first got my Fitbit, I was shocked to see that I only got 2,500 steps in a day! It was a good eye-opener into why I have been gaining weight. After four weeks with the Fitbit, I now am getting 10,000 steps in nearly every day. These are some changes that I made to my daily routines that have made the biggest impact on my activity levels:

–          When I get to work, I walk around the parking lot for two laps and two more laps when leaving work.

–          Every hour, I get up and walk for two minutes. Whether that’s in place or around the building, I make this a priority.

–          I schedule a 20 minute walk for some of my lunch break.

–          Before I go to bed, I walk around the house three times. You’ll be surprised at what you see when you’re walking around your own home.”

Participant 2:

“I always thought I was an active person but when I got my Fitbit and my average daily steps didn’t top 5,000 steps, I realized I was not as active as I thought. With the goal of 10,000 steps in mind, I’ve become more aware of how to get more steps in:

–          If it’s nice outside, I’ve started to invite others on walking meetings. Even if we just walk for the first 10 minutes and then we can have the remaining portion of the meeting in an office, this benefits my step number and developing relationships.”

–          When I am with my kids in the morning, I take them on a 10 minute walk. At first this was difficult for them but in the last week, it’s become a habit and I feel the kids’ energy is different. So now I’m getting my steps in and spending some quality time with my kids.

Father And Son Walking Rural Footpath

Participant 3:

“I am in a department that doesn’t have the flexibility to move away from my desk during the day except for scheduled breaks. Getting more steps in my daily routine seems impossible and some days it will be. But I’ve become more aware of the steps that I can get in and what I do before and after work to help as well.

–          When I can, I take the opportunity to stand up at my desk and walk in place.

–          I’ve invited a friend to walk with me in the evenings.”

 

As these participants are finding out, getting 10,000 steps in a day isn’t always doable but it’s an important health benchmark! It also seems like a lofty goal at first, but eventually becomes something that can be a long-term goal every day.

Little Girl Walking Outdoors With Red Boots

What are some of your favorite tips for getting the right amount of exercise into your day?

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