This Week’s Health Goal: Park Further Away From Places Than You Normally Do
This Week’s Health Goal:
Park Further Away From
Places Than You Normally Do
How many steps does the average American take in 1 day?
The average U.S. adult takes about 5,900 steps a day, which isn’t quite hitting the 10,000 steps mark. What do those extra steps actually do for us? Well, this week’s health goal is all about seeing the changes a little bit more walking can do for us! While it may not seem like some extra steps will make that much of a difference, it’s amazing what the science shows.
The Science of 10,000 Steps
10,000 steps itself is not a very meaningful number. There’s no scientific study out there that shows this is the exact number we all need to walk. In fact, it actually became the popular number to choose based on a Japanese pedometer in the 1960’s that translated to 10,000 steps. This number has since stuck with us, and it actually turned out to be a pretty good estimate.
One study tested what increased walking would do for blood pressure and the sympathetic nervous system. The sympathetic nervous system is the “fight or flight” part of our nervous system. If we stay in this state for long amounts of time, we are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, store extra fat in the body, and slow the brain down. When people who on average walked 6,000 steps a day started taking 10,000 steps a day for 3 months, blood pressure lowered by 10 points, sympathetic nervous activity decreased dramatically, and they increased their oxygen intake!
The effects of walking more aren’t just physical either! When a normally sedentary group was made to take at least 10,000 steps a day, multiple mental attributes improved as well. The group had a significant decrease in anxiety, depression, confusion, fatigue, and anger.
If you’re able to, don’t just stop at 10,000 steps. Newer studies are coming out showing that 15,000 steps a day is where you get your maximum benefit. However, if time is a constraint, don’t worry if you’re not adding in that last extra bit. Science shows you get the biggest bang for your buck in the 8,000-11,000 range. By parking further away from your normal daily stops, you’re already well on your way to increasing yours steps and health!
Other ways to motivate
yourself to walk:
Find a walking buddy (human or animal!)
Purchase a pedometer so that you can actually keep track.
Sign-up for a walking event that you know you will need to practice for.
Splurge a little! Buy new walking clothes and shoes that make you want to use them!
yours in health, dr samantha boldt