“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
10,000 Step Fallacy
As we learned in the article “What Are the Benefits of Walking?” The number 10,000 was coined by a Japanese pedometer company in the 70s. It has become the standard of exercise for the general population.
However, just because we don’t hit 10,000 steps doesn’t mean we are failing.
We need to shift our mindset around walking, exercise, and movement. Most of us need to move more (check out the article: “What Makes Movement So Important?” ), but many of us need to be more thoughtful about how we incorporate our movement.
I mean that we don’t need to do all of our movements in one big workout or singular timeframe. Instead, we need to move regularly throughout the day.
I, like many, find more significant health benefits, weight loss, etc., when I can move multiple times/day.
What I am proposing in this article is starting by getting about 2,000 steps, 2-3x each day. Why these numbers? Mainly because of simplicity and relative ease for most to accomplish.
Two thousand steps are roughly one mile.
Most people walk 1 mile in 15-22 mins, so if you were to max out at this, you would roughly hit 6,000 steps.
It takes 1 hour and 6 mins of your day. If you’re on the faster pace of the average mile time, you’re getting this done in about 45 mins total.
Ideally, you could sync this up for the morning, noon, and evening. Regardless of timing, the goal is to move frequently throughout the day.
My Oura ring does a great job of letting me know when I’ve been sitting for extended periods. I’ve been taking its cues and getting up, going upstairs for some water, or a brief walk to the mailbox/down the street when prompted.
I am a former college athlete. I would run up to 4+miles a day during soccer training. I even built workouts into my schedule, plus games 1-2 times a week.
If anything was difficult at this point in my life it was maintaining weight during the season. In the years of no longer having 2-3 hours of activity lined up for me, I’ve found much more success in maintaining body weight when practicing our 2-3x/day rule.
Previously, I had done 30-60 mins of working out. I’d sit in the office or on my couch and think I was good for the day; mission accomplished! Nope. Not anymore.
Supplementing my workouts with more steps periodically throughout the day has helped me more with weight management, improved my mood, and also helped my sleep.
I suggest starting small, like walking around the kitchen while waiting for your coffee to get ready to get a few more steps in.
Are you someone who works in the office or Clinic during lunch? Make an excuse to walk out to your car, even if it’s not to get anything. Take your trash out in the evening after dinner, and get a few extra steps in.
As you start small with these habits, you may add more sooner than expected!
This article follows the same theme as many other Tiger Medical Institute articles.
Movement is great. Most reading this probably need to move a little more, and that’s okay!
However, let’s not brutally overreact and sign up for a marathon tomorrow (although I’m glad this article has you fired up to do so) or go work out so hard we can’t walk for three days.
Let’s move smarter and find the right balance that feels good, starting small to build to our long-term goals.