A lot of us assume that if we go to the gym and workout at least 30 minutes a day, everything will be okay, but what about the other 23 and a half hours of the day? Studies have shown that as a whole Americans have all become more desk bound meaning that many of us spend the majority of the day sitting down. This is neither helpful with weight loss, nor living a healthy lifestyle.
A study published in 2012 by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that watching several hours of TV and YouTube videos, even if participants engaged in seven or more hours of rigorous exercise, was connected to a higher risk of death, including cardiovascular disease.
We need to do more than just workout 30 minutes a day. One beneficial habit to take up is to walk or use the stairs throughout your day in conjunction with your 30 minute workout. According to an article in The Wall Street Journal, an increasing number of people have started tracking their movement with pedometers (tracking steps) or accelerometers (rate a person moves and the calories used). And according to the Director of the Center for Behavior and Health at Northwestern University, Bonnie Spring, there has been so much focus on making sure we have our 30 minute workout, that we are not focused on how most of us spend the rest of our day.
According to the American Heart Association, a goal for everyone should be to take 10,000 steps a day, a 2010 study conducted by the Journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise; Americans take 5,117 steps a day on average. By increasing our steps, it can help in modest weight loss and better glucose tolerance for individuals at risk of diabetes.
How many steps is 10,000 steps? Dr. David Basset Jr. from the University of Tennessee compares 2,000 steps to walking approximately one mile and climbing 10 stairs is approximately taking 40 steps on level ground.
It has been shown that states with a higher step count have lower rates of obesity, although there is no proof of cause and effect. The map below show the states color coordinated with their obesity level. For example, Colorado is yellow and their average step count is 6,500. Arkansas is orange and has an average step count of 4,500.
Getting started is easy. Get yourself a pedometer or install a pedometer app on your phone like Pedometer FREE GPS + for iPhone. Go through your day like you would any other day and track your steps for a week. Then challenge yourself. If you’re under 10,000 steps a day, work towards hitting that every day. If you are over 10,000 steps, challenge yourself to do more. It’s easy to do; take the stairs rather than the elevator, when going somewhere park as far away from the door as you can, and instead of trying to get everything done in one trip, take multiple. Doing so will not only help you reach the recommended number of steps, but it will help you reach your weight loss goals and achieve an overall healthier lifestyle.