Getting exercise is important, and walking is one of the easiest ways to rack up "active" minutes. The only things you'll need are a comfortable pair of shoes and time.
It takes the average person about 30 minutes to walk between 3,000 and 4,000 steps, according to Harvard Medical School. That means, to get the often-recommended 10,000 steps per day, you'd have to dedicate roughly an hour and a half of your time to walking – a challenge for people with busy lives and jobs that require sitting for most of the day.
So, where did the 10,000-steps-per-day recommendation come from and is it really that important?
A step back
The 10,000-step goal wasn't created by a health organization or through extensive research. According to Harvard Medical School, it gained notoriety in Japan during the mid-1960s when a company created a pedometer with a name that translated into "10,000 steps meter." In other words, the number was chosen because it had a catchy name.
Still, 10,000 steps a day is recognized as a good number to reach when it comes to your health. The American Heart Association (AHA), for example, recommends that people try to work their way up to this goal.
For those short on time, the AHA's minimum recommendation is for adults to get at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. A daily, 25-minute, briskly paced walking session can help you exceed that goal.
Why not start today? You may soon discover that you have more time to walk than you originally thought.
Concerned about your heart health? Quality cardiovascular care is right around the corner. Dr. Robert Schatz, F.A.C.C., a non-interventional cardiologist located in Siloam Springs, is now accepting new patients. He is a member of the medical staff at Siloam Springs Regional Hospital. To schedule an appointment, call (479) 215-3060 today.
Be sure to walk briskly
The term "brisk" gets thrown around a lot when discussing walking for exercise. But what constitutes a brisk pace, and why is it important that you sustain one during your walk? It's more than a stroll, but less than a full jog.
On average, a brisk pace should equal a 20-minute mile. Someone who is new to exercising may be slightly slower, while someone more experienced may be able to handle a higher pace.
Brisk walking doesn't just reduce chronic disease risk factors like high blood pressure and high cholesterol. It can strengthen the muscles around your joints, helping stabilize them, and help keep bones strong. This activity even cuts back on cravings for sweets in stressful situations!
Next time you find yourself frustrated, stressed or simply bored, take a walk. Your body and mind will thank you.