10,000 steps a day

January 9, 2008 6:00:53 PM PST
Walking is a safe, effective way to increase your daily physical activity levels. The 10,000 step-a-day program was started as a way to get people moving and to have people start thinking about leading an active lifestyle in all that they do. Why 10,000? It's been calculated that brisk walking (3-4 mph) of 10,000 steps a day meets the U.S. Surgeon General's recommended lifestyle goals of 30 minutes a day of moderately intense physical activity. The great aspect of this program is that it creates a lifestyle of being active, instead of trying to block out a time each day to get 30 minutes of exercise; you can be active all day in your normal daily activities.

Below are some simple tips on how to achieve 10,000 steps:

  • Take the stairs whenever possible
  • Get up from your desk and take a 3-minute walk every hour (good for the eyes and back)
  • Deliver messages to co-workers in person instead of using inter-office mail or e-mail
  • Walk the sidelines while your kids play soccer
  • Have informal "walking meetings" with colleagues at work
  • Spend time with friends and family, walking at the zoo, at the museum, through the botanical gardens, or a park
  • Park at the end of the mall that's farthest from your shopping destination
  • Vacuum your house more often
  • March in place while you brush your teeth
  • Do the yard work
  • Power-walk every supermarket aisle, even when you only need milk.

    To count those steps, you'll want to invest in a pedometer, a pager-sized device worn on your belt that simply records the number of steps you take based on your body's movement. Most pedometers are analog devices that simply measure steps. Although some fancier digital models also track the distance you walk, all you really need is a simple step counter so you can monitor the number of steps taken per day.

    The Houston YMCA is an advertiser in our 'Get Healthy Houston' program