Tuesday, 8 September 2015

10,000 steps a day; is that really enough?

Experts say that while 10,000 steps a day is a good number to reach, but any amount of activity beyond what you're currently doing will likely benefit your health.

Walking is something most of us can do and if, like many others, you find yourself with a sedentary lifestyle I urge you get out there and give it a go... you don't need any special equipment and it's free exercise.

Walking for Health

The origins of the 10,000-steps recommendation aren't exactly scientific. Pedometers sold in Japan in the 1960s were marketed under the name "manpo-kei," which translates to "10,000 steps meter." I'd guess that's where the magical 10,000 steps a day comes from.

For some reason best known to themselves many people seem to think walking 10,000 steps a day means they are actively fit, maintaining a health body and probably losing weight. WRONG!

Don't be fooled. The 10,000 step figure isn't the be all and end all of everyday fitness, especially if those 10,000 steps you walk are strolled at a snail's pace back and forth in your office or around a shopping mall. No, to gain any kind of real health benefit you need to walk at a reasonably constant pace of around 4 miles per hour (approximately 6.5 kph). A mile every 15 minutes isn't that quick really if you're sound of limb.

I average around 15,000 steps a day on a day when I don't walk for exercise (average burn around 3000 kilo-calories). Those 15,000 steps might be good for me, but they don't do much for weight loss. The days when I walk for exercise (a couple of days a week) I average around 25,000 steps Average burn around 4200 kilo-calories). That extra thousand or so kilo-calories is where the weight loss comes from.

The days when I don't walk for exercise I go for a bike ride (anything between 8 and 25 miles depending on my route) and burn extra calories that way.
Usually when I walk for exercise I try to maintain a 4 mph speed over a distance of 5 or 6 miles. When I cycle my aim is maintaining an average speed of 13 mph, which doesn't sound as though I'm working very hard. It's easy on flat roads, but not so easy when you're negotiating the hills and valleys Wales is famous for hence the difference between the distances in my routes. And bear in mind I've only recently started cycling again after a break of more than a decade so am still 'building up' my cardiovascular side and I'm battling with arthritic knees to boot.

So anyway to answer my original question, is 10,000 steps a day really enough? No in my opinion 10,000 steps a day isn't enough to maintain a healthy body and lose weight unless you actively partake in some other form of exercise. It may be a great starting point to getting back into exercise, but if you want to gain fitness and lose weight as I do you will need to do more.

My stats so far today

Steps: 16,205
Distance: 7.17 miles
Calories Burned: 2214

Cycling: 1 hr 21 min
Distance: 14.4 Miles
Calories burned: 2200

Total Active Minutes: 220
Total Calories out: 4414
Total Calories in: 738