Getting started : 10,000 daily steps
Updated: Jan 17
Walking and weight loss
A vital part of reaching your ideal body goal is walking.
It's the simplest, most accessible form of exercise but often the most neglected.
Picture yourself in the future.
Imagine how you want to look and feel.
Do you see your future self sat on their backside for 99% of the day and looking and feeling great?
Have you achieved that level of health and fitness by lounging on the sofa, eating junk food most days?
Or do you know that the biggest source of your daily calorie burn is non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) - the energy you burn doing things like walking, cleaning and gardening.
The more you move, the more calories you burn.
Do you really need to do 10,000 steps a day?
There's nothing magic about the 10,000 number.
And one size doesn't fit all.
10,000 is simply a good, clear, all-round figure to aim for.
That said, setting an individual step goal is fine, as long as you aim for an additional 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day.
An Australian study found that people who took more than 5,000 steps a day had a much lower risk of heart disease and stroke than those that walked less than 5,000 daily steps.
How far is 10,000 steps?
For the average person that has a stride length of approximately 2.1 to 2.5 feet, it takes around 2000 steps to walk one mile.
Which means that 10,000 steps would be around 5 miles.
Get an activity tracker. I use and love the Apple Watch 3 Series. Find one that suits your budget and ticks all the boxes with regards to the functions you need.
What’s your starting point? If you’ve never used an activity tracker before then you have no idea how many steps you currently do in a day.
Use the first few days to play around with your tracker and get a feel for your normal daily step count. It will surprise you how many you actually do.
What’s your target? 10k steps is the common target and work for most. If at the end of the day I’ve hit my 10,000 steps, I feel great.
Set a goal that challenges you and requires effort to reach on a daily basis. Add 3 - 4,000 steps to your current daily average.
Set a time frame. This is a life-time pursuit but a life-time is a long-time so break it into manageable chunks.
Don’t run before you can walk. Aim to do one day first, then a week and then a month etc. Be realistic.
Make sure you commit to it. Don’t set yourself up for a fail and then say I told you so. Set your goal and your timeframe and commit 100% to do your best to achieve it.
How will you hold yourself accountable? Use friends, family or social media to help with accountability.
Tell them what you are doing and ask them to be supportive and check-in on you. Especially in the initial weeks where motivation may wane before discipline takes over.
Use your time wisely. Listen to a podcast, an audiobook or music.
I like to pick a ‘recommended album for you’ on Spotify and try it out - I’ve discovered some great music doing that.
Or you could speak to family and friends, hold a business meeting or enjoy the peace and clear your head. It’s your time, use it to boost your wellbeing.
Explore your local area. Our local area can sometimes pass us by in the daily rush. Take the time to explore your local buildings and surroundings, you'll be amazed by what you find.
Here in Hinckley, Leicestershire I have a whole new appreciation for the place I grew up in after spending hours walking the streets whilst doing my daily steps.
Do it. All you have to do is wear your activity tracker and move.
The more you do it, the more you’ll have a feeling for the duration and distance you need to move for to hit your target.
Tweak your routine. Adjust your day to complement your goal.
After a few days, you’ll know what it takes to reach your target, make sure you plan your day to help you achieve that.
Reward yourself. Always take a moment to acknowledge your daily victories.
Create a reward system that does that.
I’m not saying go out and eat cakes every day if your goal is fat loss.
But, patting yourself on the back creates a positive feeling you associate with your win for the day.
Have fun. Or else what’s the point?
Ben Yates is a personal trainer based at Places Gym Hinckley and Hinckley Leisure Centre in Leicestershire.
To book your free personal training consultation click here