In my article and video about the basic rules of a healthy life style, I was talking about the 10.000 steps I take every day. In other articles, I refer sometimes to these 10.000 steps, so it was about time to explain the 10.000 steps per day habit a bit more. I consider it a minimum of movement per day. Everything extra is a bonus, but anything less than 10.000 or more or less 8.500, will not be an active day for me.
Why 10.000 steps?
The 10.000 steps per day ”rule” is not just a hype that suddenly arose one day. The Japanese doctor Yoshiro Hatano said that if we daily exercise enough we will feel much healthier. So Yoshiro decided to make a rule of a minimal amount of exercise per day, represented in the amount of steps we take. He came to the conclusion that we make an average of 6.000 steps per day. To live a healthy life, we should actually make 10.000 per day. The extra 4.000 steps is roughly an equivalent to half an hour of brisk walking. He came up with the following calculation:
6.000 steps (our daily movement) + 4.000 steps (30 minutes extra movement) = 10.000 steps (minimal amount of exercise per day)
Why walking and not for example cycling? In Japanese society walking is important and something common. Around 40 years ago, the first step counter was introduced. Did you know the word ”pedometer” is called in Japanese “ manpo kei”, which literally means 10.000 step counter.
Tips to get to 10.000 steps per day
If we all take more or less 6.000 steps per day, it seems like a little … uuhm step to make it to 10.000 steps per day, however many people struggle with this. How do you make sure that you get to 10.000 steps every day? With my tips, I hope you can easily increase the number of steps per day up to 10.000.
To measure is to know
Try to measure your daily steps for about ten days. The latest smartphones come with an app that counts steps. You can also download the free app Moves, buy a pedometer or use a watch like Fitbit. If you have a better idea of how active or inactive you are, you can make a plan.
Set a goal
Next, set yourself an achievable goal. Every step counts. If you make 6.000 steps per day, first try to go for 7.500 steps per day and increase your steps every week a bit. If the amount of steps feel easy (doable), add another 1.000 extra steps to your goal.
If you need some extra tips, the following might help.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Spend any time you need to wait walking back and forth instead of sitting
- Park the car a bit further away or get out of the bus one stop earlier
- Go for a walk during your break
- Walk to your colleagues instead of calling or emailing them
- Go for a walk in the evening or during the weekend
- Walk to your supermarket
- Walk while you are on the phone
Make 10.000 steps a habit
Once something is a habit, you do not have to think about it. It feels very normal. Overtime, you will notice that if 10.000 steps per day are an habit you are less likely to use your pedometer because you will reach your goal every day without even thinking about it. If you’re (after some time) still struggling with reaching your goal, then it is not a habit yet. In that case it might help to set yourself a new goal again.
The next step
Once 10.000 steps a day is a habit, you will notice that you will feel much more energetic. This can be a good basis for a workout that you always wanted to do, but you didn’t feel fit enough to do so. Whatever you do, always keep the 10.000 steps per day as a basis.
Tip: do you easily have sore muscles? Spray this on your muscles (legs) and the pain should be considerably less over time.
Do you also use a step counter or do you think it doesn’t make any sense? I think it’s a huge motivation, but I‘d love to hear your opinion on this.
photos by the green creator (c) (copyright)