During the holiday season last year, I kind of went sidetracked and ate a little too much while living a fairly sedentary lifestyle. So early this year, I set out to be a little more active by meeting the daily 10,000 steps count.
After a few months of trying to be consistent, I found the most foolproof ways for meeting the daily goal while exceeding it most of the time!
Read along as I discuss the health benefits of walking 10k a day, why the treadmill is the best way to do it, and other ways you can do to reach the daily step count recommendation.
Why 10,000 Steps
While the concept of 10,000 steps daily was initially a marketing strategy by a Japanese company to boost the sale of step counters in Japan in 1964, many physical guidelines around the globe revisited the idea to encourage their citizens to be more active.
Most fitness trackers/activity trackers like Fitbit set the daily steps to be 10,000 steps by default. According to Fitbit, it adds about 30 minutes of daily exercise for most, which meets the recommendation of 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week by health authorities like the Australian Department of Health.
There are many health benefits to walking. Just being active throughout the day can help reduce common health risks which are preventable:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
Besides reducing health risks, walking can also help with:
- Strengthening immune system
- Improving cognitive abilities, mood, memory and sleep
- Maintaining healthy body composition
- Increasing energy levels
- Improving endurance
- Improving cardiovascular fitness
- Improving mental health
The average adult in Australia walks about 7,400 steps (source: ABS) daily going an extra 30 minutes of walk would help reach the 10,000 steps goal. The extra 30 minutes a day would meet the Department of Health’s physical guideline.
Why I Recommend Using a Treadmill
Why I recommend using a treadmill is because people tend to make excuses when starting a fitness journey that requires a bit more effort.
It is great if you are motivated to walk outside and get some fresh air. I do try to walk in the local garden every morning. But you know what? I get lazy and make excuses like most do. Excuses like the weather are too warm, too cold, too windy and more.
When I get lazy days like that, all I need to do is jump on my trustworthy foldable walking treadmill. I placed the treadmill in my living room so I will be able to see it from most angles. When it happens, my brain tells me to just do it and meet the 10,000 steps.
2. Having Control of the Workout
When you are exercising indoors, the first thing you get to control is the environment. Whether you are using the treadmill in your local gym or at home, you will be able to control the settings like the inclination and pre-programmed training.
Depending on the treadmill, most are able to display your vitals like heart rate, distance, calories burned and more. If you are wearing a fitness tracker, that would help keep your steps counts in check. These measurements can help keep you in check so you can improve for your next walking session.
If you have one of those iFit compatible treadmills like the NordicTrack X22i Incline Trainer and ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill, they come with a smart exercise program that you can work on. Read more about iFit here.
3. Walk Faster and Burning More Calories
Without outdoor obstacles like wind resistance and traffic, which can slow down the walk, you are able to walk faster using a treadmill. When you set your treadmill for time instead of distance, you might find yourself walking faster, which in turn means walking more distance. More calories will be burned because you are essentially walking faster and covering longer distances within a set period of time.
Of course, you can also burn calories during incidental exercise like going to the toilet, or pacing around while on the phone. I just personally like to be intentional, having a 30-minute block just for exercising to meet the recommended daily step target and be done for the day.
4. Work at a Desk Job While Being Active
As mentioned earlier, I do have a foldable walking treadmill so if you have one, you can place it under your standing desk. Start walking when you work at your desk job. Trust me, when you are in the mojo of working, you probably would not feel that you are walking a lot. Just remember not to overdo it or you might risk injury.
This is one of the reasons why I love using the walking treadmill because it is quiet and I can kill two birds with one stone – working at a desk job but still being able to keep active and meet my daily step count. Being able to meet my fitness goals while working is a big plus too!
Other Ways to Reach 10,000 Steps
Of course, you don’t have to follow through with my recommendation of using a treadmill to meet 10,000 steps a day. There are many other ways to do so without having to purchase fitness equipment for your home.
Here are a few:
Follow Youtube walking workout
There are many fitness gurus on Youtube that offer amazing walking workout videos that you can follow. I believe there are options like a 3km walk or a 5km walk. There could be more, just search on Youtube.
I did a 3km walk before and I sweat like a pig. It was such a good workout and not forgetting to mention that it was quite nice having a trainer walking you through. It is like having a walking buddy.
Walk inside your home or in your local area
If the weather permits, go get some fresh air and walk around your local area. You might be surprised with what your local neighbourhood offers because it feels different when you walk and when you drive.
And if the weather is bad or if you are just feeling a lazy day, walk in your own home. Put on an activity tracker and track your steps throughout the day. Take a 10-15 minutes break once a while and pace in your home.
It will be even better if your home has a staircase. Not only does walking up and down the stairs helps increase your step count, but it can also help burn calories too because of the inclination.
Park further away or use a public transport
Whether you are heading to work or to the shops, use public transport or try to choose a parking spot that is a little bit further from the entrance (if it is safe to do so). You will be forced to walk a tad bit more to get to the entrance and back to your car. Every step counts!
Drink more water
You will be surprised if you track how much water you drink every day. Most people don’t hydrate themselves enough. Why did I include drinking more water as another way to increase step count? You will have no choice but to walk to the loo when you drink more water.
Of course, do not overdrink water. Learn to be in tune and listen to your body, drink when you need to hydrate yourself. Ask yourself whether you are feeling peckish because you are hungry or are you thirsty.
Whether you choose to use a treadmill or not, it is easy to reach 10,000 steps a day if you pick it up as a lifestyle or habit. Fitness is a journey, not a goal. Either way, the treadmill works for me and I think it is worth the money to purchase one. It picked me up on my lazy days and helped me reach at least 18,000 steps daily and I am proud of it. You do you.
Depending on your pace, 10000 steps is equivalent to about 8 kilometres and that would take around 100 minutes or 1 hour 40 minutes.
Using the treadmill regularly for walking or running can help reduce belly fat. Another benefit of walking on a treadmill long term is that it can help with overall fat burning. One thing to note though is that if you are looking to lose weight, you should make some changes to your diet as well to notice a difference.
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