Why Ten Thousand Steps?Posted: February 22, 2016
Yesterday my skinny cousin Sarah asked me who came up with ten thousand steps as a fit goal? It was a good question. So many step tacklers encourage people to do ten thousand steps a day, but what if that is not enough?
Sarah was looking for a realistic goal to set for herself so that she could eat normally and not gain weight. For the record, Sarah was born on my fifteenth birthday so I wanted to remind her that all these goals need to go up as you get older.
My advice to her was to wear her FitBit for a couple days without doing anything extra and just get an idea what her base line walking is in a normal day. Then double that number if she wants to make sure she won’t gain weight.
If in a normal week she only walks an average of four thousand steps a day then an eight thousand step goal will be good, but if she already walks seven thousand then she needs to up her goal to fourteen thousand.
It is amazing how few steps people who have sedentary jobs get in a day. You really have to embrace inefficiency to up your steps without having to get on a treadmill. Of course taking an intentional walk twice a day around the neighborhood will probably do the trick and give you the bonus of fresh air and some thinking time. I do not endorse walking outside while texting or reading things on your phone. Besides the obvious dangers you just walk too slowly when you text.
My basketball friend Al asked me one day before a game how many steps I had that day. Turns out I had something like triple the number he had. We had half an hour until the game started so I suggested we get up and walk around the track that circled the basketball court. We painlessly got 3,500 steps before our daughters took the court. It was easy and was better use of our time than sitting in the bleachers.
It is not just the number of steps, but the pace at which you get them that helps you. So swing your arms and walk a little faster. Your scale will tell you if doubling your natural average is enough. Don’t worry what other people set as their goal, you don’t know what they eat. Step goals do not have to be worn on your sleeve. Just step.