Getting Your 10,000 Steps

walkingA quiet movement has been growing, starting in Japan and now spreading across the U.S.: the attempt to get to 10,000 steps a day.

Why 10,000? Apparently, it sounds good in Japanese. There’s nothing special about 10,000 steps. It’s about 5 miles for most people, though, and doing that much moving each day is good for your heart, your muscles, your digestion, your skin, and your mood.

If you’re not very active right now, 10,000 steps is enough more activity than you get right now that it makes a good goal to shoot for. If you’re active, it’s a good metric to make sure that you’re not letting work, school, or summer sloth keep you from moving.

Start with a pedometer. Wear it around for a few days to see how much you’re currently moving. If you’re in an office job and only get out on the weekends, you may be amazed to see that you rack up just 1,500 steps on a lot of days. This can also mean that you’ll be more susceptible to injuries when you go hiking or climbing on weekends.

If you go for a week and never break 10,000, that’s a wake-up call.

Here are some ways to make it easier to reach those 10,000 steps a day:

  • Walk to work, or park a mile from the office if it’s really too far to walk.
  • Walk to talk to coworkers, instead of emailing or IMing.
  • Take a walk at coffee breaks and lunchtime.
  • Walk when you take a phone call.
  • Take the stairs.
  • Walk your dog after work. Also before work.
  • Hit the treadmill on the way home.
  • Stop off at a walking trail on the way home from work. Get home a little later and a lot more relaxed.
  • Walk with your spouse, friend, or just by yourself in the evening.
  • Take a camera and challenge yourself to keep walking till you get a great picture.
  • Dance in the evening instead of watching TV.
  • Dance while watching TV.
  • Take a hike every weekend. Put it on your calendar or plan with friends to make sure it really happens.

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