Today, walking is one of the safest forms of exercise. Depending on how often you walk, you can manage to easily lose one pound per week or more. While you shed the pounds and inches from your body, you are also toning your muscles and improving your health.
This woman tried to walk 10,000 steps every day for a month to check if it would change her body. Read her story and get inspired by it.
Last year, I went for my annual checkup with my doctor, and she asked me how much I exercised. I told her I tried to work out two or three times a week. She frowned.
When she noticed the fitness tracker on my wrist, she said, “You should be hitting at least 10,000 steps every day. How many do you normally get?”
I responded, “Somewhere in the 6,000 to 7,000 range.” Again, she looked disappointed.
Honestly, I was too. In high school I was a highly competitive gymnast, spending four hours at the gym every day. In college, I tried to take dance and Pilates classes, and I traipsed over campus all day long.
After I graduated, I entered the adult world and started working a nine-to-five office job. Usually, my walking only happened between my home and the subway, and then the subway and work. On good days, I’d get a few hundred steps in if I decided to go out for lunch.
And then, last summer, I adopted a dog. I thought that would change everything — I’d walk so much more! Much to my chagrin, I realized a few weeks after adopting Bella that my step count had only increased by about a thousand each day.
Benefits Of Walking
According to the Mayo Clinic, there are a ton of health benefits you can get just from walking on a daily basis.
They explain that walking can help you “maintain a healthy weight; prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes; strengthen your bones and muscles; improve your mood; and improve your balance and coordination.”
Why 10,000 Steps?
According to the CDC, adults need at least 2 and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week.
Moderate-intensity aerobic activity includes things like pushing a lawn mower, walking quickly, and riding a bike on a flat surface.
Most fitness trackers recommend a 10,000 step goal because it equals about five miles a day — including 20 minutes of moderate exercise, explains Fitbit.
10,000 steps is a good goal for most people, but exact fitness goals vary from person to person. Talk to your doctor or a fitness trainer if you want to set an expectation that’s more reasonable for your lifestyle.
Every day for a month, I would try my best to walk 10,000 steps — or do the equivalent amount of exercise (like biking or taking a barre class).
I wouldn’t focus on improving other aspects of my health, but if I felt motivated to exercise more or eat healthier, I wouldn’t stop myself.
Even though I wasn’t planning on officially starting the experiment until August 1, I left on vacation on July 28 — so I started then instead.
My boyfriend and I went to Italy for eight days, and I knew that with all the exploring we were planning to do, we’d be walking a ton.
By the end of the 30 days, I had walked over 364,000 steps — that’s about 182 miles.
While it sounds pretty impressive, I can’t successfully say I completed my goal. Unfortunately, there were a few days where I just didn’t hit 10,000 steps. (What can I say, I’m only human).
Going into the experiment, I thought that adding a few thousand steps each day would be a breeze — I was wrong.
I was surprised at how challenging it was to hit 10,000 steps while working at my desk all day. Unfortunately, the daily walking I do to and from the train and to and from home doesn’t even get close to 10,000 steps.
Would I do this again? Yes! I plan on continuing to walk as much as I can, but I’m going to make sure to mix in other exercise and healthy living habits as well.
Did it visibly change my body? I didn’t lose a single pound on this routine, but that’s not really the main goal of walking for exercise. To lose weight, you typically need more heavy-duty cardio; walking 10,000 steps helps your body by improving your health in less visible ways, like toning small muscles and strengthening your heart.
Would I recommend this to a friend? Definitely. There are absolutely no downsides to walking 10,000 steps a day (as long as you’re healthy enough to do it), so I would recommend it to everyone!