Did you get your 10,000 steps in today? Tracking steps has become a habit for health and fit-conscious individuals everywhere over the last decade thanks in part to the popularity of Fitbits and Apple Watches. But how important is it really to reach that goal?
You might be surprised to learn that the idea of walking 10,000 steps a day started as a trend promoted as a Japanese fitness challenge to help curb obesity rates. Nonetheless, the American Heart Association has put it’s stamp of approval on the idea, recommending individuals opt for 10,000 steps a day (about five miles) for better health.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways moving more will benefit your health:
1. Gives Your Heart Health a Boost
Moving more will help to increase the amount of oxygenated blood being sent to your muscles, strengthening your heart. Regular cardio activity also helps to prevent and manage high blood pressure and allows your heart to pump blood more easily.
2. Strengthens Your Lungs
Walking everyday will increase your lung capacity and help to strengthen your lungs and the surrounding muscles. In turn, you’ll breathe easier, and your lungs will stay healthier longer.
3. Improves Your Concentration and Memory
Getting in more physical activity boosts the release of hormones, like endorphins, which make you feel better. The increased blood flow to the brain results in improved cognitive function and reduces stress and anxiety. Researchers have found that regular aerobic activity seems to increase the size of the hippocampus, the region of the brain responsible for memory.
4. Builds Stronger Bones and Muscles
Getting more steps in puts extra stress on your bones. That may sound like a bad thing, but it actually helps to improve their density and lowers your risk for osteoporosis as you get older. The daily physical activity also causes tiny tears in your muscles, which leads to increased muscle growth and strength.
5. Helps Stabilize Your Blood Sugar
Walking 10,000 steps a day will ensure your muscles use more of the glucose in your bloodstream, which will lower your blood sugar up to 24 hours afterwards. Physical activity also helps the insulin in your body to work more efficiently, reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes.
6. Increases Energy Levels
Walking is a great way to boost energy levels and combat fatigue, while strengthening the heart and improving circulation at the same time. And once the evening rolls around, the day’s exercise may help improve the quality of your sleep too!
7. Boosts Flexibility
Physical activity will help to improve your flexibility as well. Improved posture, less risk of injury and decreased aches and pains are just some of the benefits that come with more flexibility.
Getting your steps in is a simple, highly effective, way to improve your overall health. Take a stroll around the block during your next lunch break, walk your pup after dinner and park in the spot furthest away from the building when running errands to help you easily reach our daily goals.
Replacing sugar in your diet with stevia is also an effortless way to help improve your health!