How many steps do you walk each day? Maybe you have heard the recent guidelines about walking 10,000 steps per day. How far is 10,000 steps anyway? The average person's stride length is approximately 2.5 feet long. That means it takes just over 2,000 steps to walk one mile, and 10,000 steps is close to 5 miles. A sedentary person may only average 1,000 to 3,000 steps a day. For these people adding steps has many health benefits.
A reasonable goal for most people is to increase average daily steps each week by 500 per day until you can easily average 10,000 per day. Example: if you currently average 3000 steps each day, your goal for week one is 3500 each day. Your week 2 goal is 4000 each day. Continue to increase each week and you should be averaging 10,000 steps by the end of 14 weeks.
Wearing a pedometer is an easy way to track your steps each day. Start by wearing the pedometer every day for one week. Put it on when you get up in the morning and wear it until bed time. Record your daily steps in a log or notebook. By the end of the week you will know your average daily steps. You might be surprised how many (or how few) steps you get in each day.
There are many ways to increase your daily steps. Use your imagination and come up with your own list:
Continue to track your daily steps and/or mileage; and keep notes on how you feel, how your body is improving, or other changes you are making to improve your health. If you are in very poor physical condition or at any point you feel that you are progressing too rapidly slow down a bit and try smaller increases. If you have any health concerns seek your physician's advice prior to starting or changing your exercise routine.
We have outlined the standard 10,000 step program because this is a good program to help get people motivated, or to get sedentary people moving. It is however recommended that most individuals fit 30 to 60 minutes of dedicated walking (or other exercise) into their routine at least 3 to 4 days a week. You can start with as little as ten minutes per day and gradually increase your walking routine.
Run The Planet thanks The Walking Site (www.thewalkingsite.com) for the permission to reprint the article "10,000 steps a day". The Walking Site is a resource for walkers of all fitness levels and provides helpful information and motivation for improving both spirits and health. Text copyright © by The Walking Site. Illustration copyright © 2004 by Run The Planet.