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How and Why to Get Your 10,000 Steps a Day

We’ve all heard and seen the promotions about our step count in a day. 10,000 is flashed across every fitness app, smartwatch advertisement, health campaign, but why? Why do we need 10,000 steps a day and how do we reach them realistically? This blog will walk you through all you need to know about your daily step count and try to help you get there.

Should You Aim For 10,000 Steps?

There’s no point in going from 5,000 steps or less straight to 10,000 a day. First of all, you need to gradually increase your count, which might look like an extra 1,000 steps a day for a week or two, and then increasing by another 1,000, and so on. By taking your time to reach your goal you are more likely to stick to it as your body will build up the ability to achieve the amount over time. Whereas a huge jump may lead to unrealistic expectations of your body and result in you feeling overwhelmed, or straining your body, and being unable to continuously hit these heights.

Slow and steady can often be the best practice when it comes to developing your physical health and ability. So, now that you know you can take your time to get there, what are the benefits when you do?

The Benefits of Hitting Your 10,000 Milestone

Like with anything fitness based, reaching your 10,000 steps alone won’t keep you in peak physical condition, your nutrition, other workouts and other factors will contribute, but achieving this number of steps is proven to have a host of benefits and here’s a few of them.

Improves General Fitness

However, you reach your 10,000 steps, whether it’s walking, jogging, running, or a combination you will improve your overall fitness levels. Your aerobic fitness will increase as a result of you working your airways more, while your risk of heart issues decreases as you put it through its paces. Other areas that it has an effect on are your core, arms, glutes, and obviously legs, as you use these muscles when you’re walking. All of these things aid in your body building endurance too, so you can push yourself further physically.

Helps Maintain a Healthy Mind

When you participate in physical activity of any sort, your body will release endorphins, these are chemicals inside you that boost your mood, while also relieving you of stress or anxiety. Walking, jogging, or running encourages your body to produce more of these chemicals and therefore should increase your overall happiness. As well as this, getting up and around can allow you to step away from the constant rush of the world we live in and clear you mind, this is especially true if you can get your steps outdoors. Meanwhile, other research suggests that getting in your steps can actively support better memory functions and improve your cognitive mental abilities.

Encourages a Better Night’s Sleep

Contributes to Weight Loss

Builds Stronger Bones and Faster Recovery

While we get our steps, our body is putting pressure on our bones due to us being in an upright-position, meaning we are engaging in a weight-bearing exercise. By putting a small bit of stress on your bones you are forcing them to become stronger and more dense, which is great further down the line in preventing bone and muscle issues. Another huge benefit in moving around is that you are actively allowing blood flow to your muscles which can aid in a quicker recovery period for your body. This is particularly true following intense exercise, when a light cool-down walk can enhance muscle recovery.

Other Positives

  • Allows for better mobility.
  • Aids in joint health.
  • Encourages a healthier posture.
  • Increases energy levels and stamina.
  • Improves blood circulation.
  • Helps tone and maintain lean muscle mass.
  • Can encourage social interactions.
  • Allows time for relaxation and reflection.
  • Influences greater creativity.
  • Associated with reducing the risk of many health issues including strokes, Alzheimer’s, insomnia, and much more.

How to Get to 10,000 Steps a Day?

Now that you’ve read about the large number of benefits reaching your 10,000 steps a day can provide, you’re probably asking “how do I get them?”. Fear not as we have a number of tips and ways to achieve your step goals each day below, with some commonly spoken about and some less thought of alternatives too.

Hit the Treadmill

The first and most simple solution to gaining steps is by hopping on the treadmill at your local gym. It’s an easy way to build up the number of steps you do, measure distance, and determine your intensity level.

Walk the Dog/Head on a Post Work Walk

If you have a dog, it leaves no excuses for your step goals, as you should be walking them every day, which is a major contributor to getting those steps in. However, even if you don’t, why not make it your mission to head out for a walk every evening after work? This is a great way to not only get your step count up, but also to clear your mind following a long, stressful day. To add a little more interest and motivation to your daily walk, try get a friend involved, which can allow for social interaction as well as benefitting you both from a health perspective!

Create a Walking Loop in Your House

This is one that might sound a little unusual, but it’s effective! Whether it’s in a single room or in a hallway, having a circuit you can walk around can be a really easy way to get in your steps. If you have a square or rectangle room, walk in a figure-8 sort of pattern while you read something or are scrolling through your phone. It’s a simple way to ensure you get your steps no matter what, and it doesn’t matter what the weather’s like outside too!

Take Walking Calls

You can do this outside or using your loop in the house, but why not notch up your steps while you talk on the phone? This is a brilliant way to stay active while socialising with whoever you like, plus while you’re distracted by your intriguing conversations, you’ll rack up the steps without even realising!

Get Off Public Transport a Stop Early

Yes, getting off a stop early isn’t always possible, if you live in the countryside and the next stop is 10km ahead, but particularly in the city this is a perfect way to add to your step total. Whether you’re on a bus, train, or Luas, getting off that one stop early can mean you walk a few hundred meters extra and build on your step count!

Use the Stairs Instead of the Lift

Another simple change you can make no matter where you are is climbing the stairs instead of waiting for the lift. It might be a small bit more effort as you’re on an incline, but this is a bonus for working your body, and you might even find that you reach your destination faster than those that are still waiting on that lift!

Ad-Break Equals Step-Break

Although most of the time we are watching things on demand, on the occasions we do sit down and watch things with ads, use this as a chance to put some steps in the bank! Instead of fast-forwarding through advertisements, get up off the seat and spend those couple of minutes stretching your legs!

Take a Walk Break

We all know work can be tiring even though a lot of the time we are sitting at a screen, but that’s why you need to push yourself to move! Whether it’s on your break or once every couple of hours make sure you get out of your seat and walk around. This doesn’t have to be an intense 5km run, simply walking for a couple of minutes can not only contribute to your steps but boost your energy as mentioned above! As we all know sitting for too long can have negative effects on our body, so why not try and balance them out?

Don’t Ask Others to Get Things, Get Them Yourself

It’s fair to say we are all guilty of asking others to pick up something from the room beside us, or the shop a short distance down the road! Getting into the habit of doing it yourself allows you to cut into your step target, as well as having less people complaining that you always ask for everything!

Invest in a Fitness Tracker

Bonus Suggestions

  • Park the car further away than usual.
  • Start a walking group for the kids to school or to work if possible.
  • Take family walks on the weekend.
  • Try a walking tour.
  • Go on outdoor adventures to parks, nature reserves etc.
  • Make a local walking club.
  • Join a local sports team.
  • Walk while you watch shows on your phone.
  • Head to the local shop on foot instead of the easy option of the car.
  • Cut the grass with a push-lawnmower.

Time to Get Stepping

You’ve got the benefits, you’ve got the methods of getting steps, now it’s time to put theory into practice. Don’t give yourself excuses anymore, achieve your step goals and reap the rewards. As mentioned above, simply getting your steps doesn’t mean you’re guaranteed to be fit, but it is a huge contributor to a healthy lifestyle, especially when combined with a nutritious diet and some other workout routines! Whatever way you choose to start or level up your step journey, we hope this helped provide a little inspiration!

How Aura Leisure Can Help You Achieve Your Fitness Goals

With over 20 years of experience in the health and leisure industry we have the support and motivation for people of all abilities to reach their fitness goals. Our range of knowledge across both physical fitness and nutrition helps us continuously change the lives of our members.