If you are one of those people who go to work by car and have an office job, the challenge of increasing your number of daily steps can be quite big.
Counting your steps is a good start if you want to improve your health. But how many steps a day is considered healthy? How many steps should you take in order to lose weight? Or to get in better shape? I will also give you some tips to reach the number of recommended steps a day.
How Many Steps A Day Is Healthy For You?
A normal healthy person takes between 4000 and 18000 steps a day. I don’t mean people who walk a lot for their jobs, like waiters.
Do you want to know how active you are? Check out in which category you would put yourself depending on the number of steps you take each day:
- Inactive: less than 5.000 steps a day
- Under average active: 5.000 – 7.500 steps a day
- Average active: 7.500 – 10.000 steps a day
- Above average active: 10.000 – 12.500 steps a day
- Very active: more than 12.500 steps a day
These categories are not always reliable. When you do lots of sports like fitness, cycling or rowing for example, you might not take a lot of steps, but you are still very active.
If you consider yourself an inactive or under average active person, reaching 10.000 steps a day might seem like something impossible to reach. Especially when you are just starting to build up the number of steps, you would want to build it up slowly.
Tip: it’s important to take it slowly in the beginning. If you put yourself under too much pressure to reach the 10.000 steps immediately, you might get injured or lose your motivation. Always Enjoy what you are doing!
Why 10.000 Steps?
The number of 10.000 steps did not just fall out of the sky for no reason. In fact, it all started with the first step-tracker during the first Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964, which tracked up to 10.000 steps. Afterwards, a researcher from the Kyushu University, Yoshiro Hatano, confirmed that if the Japanese people would take more steps a day, they would be in much better health.
In our western countries, the number of steps for a healthy normal life, lie around 6.000 steps a day. In order to be in better health and shape, we should do some extra activities for at least 30 minutes per day. In a good walking pace for 30 minutes, you take about 4.000 steps, which makes you reach the 10.000 recommend steps.
How Many Steps A Day To Lose Weight?
If your goal is to lose weight, it would be good to know how many steps you should take as well. You should take at least the average amount of 10.000 steps a day. The more you take, the more calories you burn, the better it is.
You really want to go for it? Try making 15.000 steps a day. I know for myself that when I take at least 10.000 steps a day, I do not only lose weight, but I also feel better, am less tired and less stressed. So it is not only good physically, it is also good mentally.
How Many Steps A Day To Be In Better Shape?
You’ll have to challenge yourself a bit here! Try making 500 to 1.000 steps a day more than you do usually. Increase the number of steps every week. You’ll notice a rapid improvement in your endurance and your shape. It’s like jogging; in the beginning you’re barely capable of running 2 kilometers at once, but with some training, you’ll quickly be able to make a 5 kilometer track!
Another thing that is important to take into account, is variation. If you practice the same exercise daily, your body will get used to it and you won’t see any results anymore. Your body needs to be challenged in different ways.
It’s like with nutrition. Eating the same thing every day, is not only boring, you will also lack of certain nutrients and this can have an impact on your overall health.
Therefore, you can change from time to time between walking, running, jogging, etc. Always listen to your body and adapt your activity to what feels best for you.
Tips To Make More Steps A Day
Especially if you do not reach 6.000 steps a day, this goal of taking 10.000 steps might seem unreachable. How can you make sure that you reach them anyway?
First of all: Count. This gives you an idea of your daily activity and helps you challenge yourself. There are different ways to count your steps. You can download an application on your smartphone, but you can also get yourself an activity tracker that has more options like sleep analysis, heart rate, etc.
Second: Set your goals. Bit by bit, and be realistic. If you set your goals to high, you might not reach them and get demotivated. Remember, you have to enjoy yourself!
Here are some examples of increasing the number of steps, without putting too much pressure on yourself.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Get up half an hour earlier in the morning and go for a walk
- Go for a walk during your lunch break
- Walk to your colleagues to discuss a situation, instead of calling or emailing them
- When on the phone, walk around instead of sitting at your desk
- Taking public transport? Get off one stop early and walk the rest
- Park your car a little further away from the entrance
- Everything that is within let’s say 30 minutes walking distance, go by foot. (grocery store, friends, …)
- Go for a walk after dinner
- Get a dog!
The Next Step
Creating a new habit requires some effort. If you want to take at least 10.000 steps a day, you should build it up and when having reached your goal, doing it at least for one month in a row. Matt Cutts from Google, explains that 30 days should be enough to creating a new habit, as he explained in his TedTalk. After this period, you do not need to think about it anymore.
Last but not least, exercise is not everything! Living a healthy life, means eating the healthy way, drinking enough water and getting enough sleep as well. But I am sure I don’t need to tell you that.
I hope you enjoyed this article. Have you got any other tips on how to increase our number of daily steps? I would love to hear all about it, so please leave a comment below!