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National Walking Day

10 Reasons to Walk 10,000 Steps Per Day

Today is National Walking Day! You may have heard the advice to walk 10,000 steps per day, which equates to roughly five miles. The average American doesn’t get half of this, so here are 10 reasons to walk 10,000 steps per day from a certified health coach.

  1. Supports a good night’s sleep. As you may have read in my last blog post, sleep is the most important pillar of health. Walking helps relieve stress which often negatively impacts people’s sleep.
  2. Helps with weight loss. A study revealed that averaging 9,500 or more daily steps helped a group of adults who were overweight or had obesity lose about 5.3 pounds and 2% body fat and increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol by 3 milligrams per deciliter after 36 weeks.
  3. Clears the mind and invites creativity. According to a Stanford University study, walking helps to unclutter the mind so that ideas can freely flow, improving creativity and solving problems.
  4. Decreases anxiety and depression. Getting outside, soaking up Vitamin D, and moving your body can help support a mental shift. Studies show even if it’s only for 10 minutes, it can help improve positivity and gratitude.
  5. Linked to a lower risk of early death. Countless research shows that more movement (even light movement) is linked to overall longevity.

Let’s take a quick time out and stretch our legs ?. While walking/movement is one of the four pillars of health, there are three others: sleep, food, and stress management. These pillars of health work in harmony and when they’re prioritized, it’s the ticket for increased energy, weight loss, more confidence, less stress, and insurance for long term health. If you’re interested in learning more about how these four work in harmony towards your health goals, click here to get my recommendations of books, podcasts, and other resources.

  1. Reduces sitting time. You may have heard the phrase “sitting is the new smoking.” This is because excessive sitting is so prevalent in our work culture. Sitting shuts down electrical activity in the legs. It makes the body less sensitive to insulin, causes calorie-burning to plummet, and slows the breakdown of dangerous blood fats, lowering ‘good’ HDL cholesterol.
  2. Regular activity helps you avoid common health problems. Such as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
  3. Balances your blood sugar. You may have heard how important stable blood sugar is in helping you mitigate your risk from diseases such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s. When muscles move, they use more glucose which helps to lower your blood sugar levels.
  4. Reduces your risk of premature heart attack. Walking requires cardiovascular work which helps strengthen the heart, lungs, and muscles.
  5. Helps you appreciate your body. Use walking as a way to honor your body and it’ll pay you back. Finding snippets of time throughout the day to incorporate movement such as a quick walk and being grateful for the ability to move will result in physical and mental health benefits.

How to Track

Those are pretty compelling reasons to try and hit 10,000 steps per day! If you’ve never tracked your steps, you can download the free version of the MyFitnessPal app and get a baseline of your average steps. Then gradually build from there and find creative ways to incorporate more steps in your day.

How to Sneak in More Steps

Walking more and sitting less can have positive impacts on your physical and mental health. And most people can conveniently squeeze in more steps between commitments. It may take some creativity so to help, here are my personal top 5 ways I sneak in more steps:

  1. Walk & Talk. I love catching up with fellow coach colleagues but instead of sitting to catch up, we plan walk & talks.
  2. Walk reading. When I was studying for my National Board Exam, I was also working full time, coaching clients, and still trying to eat healthy and shower at least once in a while! Walk reading allowed me to read my textbooks and still get in steps. I became hooked and I’ve continued to walk read for pleasure.
  3. Park farther away. I choose parking spots the furthest away from the entrance.
  4. Take the stairs. Whether I’m taking the dog out, or at the airport, or in the mall, I try to take the stairs.
  5. Standing Desk. I know this isn’t technically walking but I seem to move more in general at a standing desk vs sitting one!

How could you sneak in more steps throughout your day?!

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