“Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.”
Just last week I wrote about how I met Alfonso who is an 80-year-old with 10x more energy than a 25-year-old. One of his “secrets” to longevity is he does a ton of walking.
As much as I love strength circuits, walking may be the foundation of a lean & healthy body filled with vitality. Walking helps you maintain your bone mass & strength, improve your cardiovascular health, improve circulation in your body, and burn incrementally more calories so that staying lean is easier.
And walking freely without pain is something to be very thankful for!
So where the heck does “10,000 steps a day” come from you’ve heard a million times?
The first commercial pedometer was launched in Japan in the 1960’s. It was called the “manpo-meter”, which translates to 10,000 meters. This specific number was selected after research showed that men who burn at least 2,000 calories per week have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. That breaks down to about 300 calories per day, which can be accomplished by walking 10,000 steps.1
There are now over 300 peer-reviewed articles showing the health benefits of walking 10,000 steps per day, which range from decreased blood pressure and glucose levels to increased cardiovascular fitness.
My personal opinion is that somewhere above 7,000 is solid, which has been supported by research2, but 10,000 steps (~5-miles) or more is ideal.
1. What Is The Challenge?
Take 10,000 steps a day for 7-days. This includes walking up stairs, up a hill, or to the bathroom.
If possible, consider wearing minimalist shoes or shoes with a small heel height.
2. Why Should I Do It?
There is a laundry list of benefits.
One report concluded that after 12-weeks, “The 30 participants who accumulated 10,000 steps had significantly lower anxiety, depression, anger, fatigue, confusion, and total mood distress scores compared with measurements taken prior to the intervention. Further, the participants had higher vigor scores compared to baseline.”3
The report continued, “Regarding physical health, the participants who accrued 10,000 steps a day had significantly lower body weight, waist circumference, BMI, and % body fat.”4
3. How Do I Track My Results?
Option #1 – Use Your Phone Pedometer
Androids or iPhones have pedometers built into the phone. You can see your steps right now by going to the Google Fit app or Apple Health app respectively. The one downside of using your phone is that you must keep the phone on you at all times to accurately track your steps. I personally don’t like to carry my phone in my pocket if I’m walking around in my apartment. I keep it on the kitchen counter.
Option #2 – Buy An Activity Tracker
There are several different wearable trackers that track your steps like a FitBit, Apple Watch, or Oura Ring. The advantage of these trackers over using just your phone is that you may not have your phone on you all the time, but you can wear these trackers 24/7. They also show you how many floors you’ve climbed, continuous heart rate, along with sleep information.
4. When Do I Start?
Consider starting this Monday for a full 7-days. Sooner rather than later, better late than never.
You can share your results, how you’re doing, and lessons learned in the comment section below. You can also leave comments under the Youtube Video, Facebook post, or Twitter post with hashtags #builtlean #10000stepchallenge.
- Brody B. Is 10,000 steps a day really the secret to better health? Life by Daily Burn ↩
- Tudor-Locke C, Craig CL, Brown WJ, et al. How many steps/day are enough? for adults. Int J Behav Nutr Phys Act. 2011;8:79. ↩
- Kornanong Yuenyongchaiwat. Effects of 10,000 steps a day on physical and mental health in overweight participants in a community setting: a preliminary study. Braz J Phys Ther. 2016 Jul-Aug; 20(4): 367–373. ↩
- Ibid. Abbreviations like WC (i.e. waist circumference) made into full phrases for sake of clarity. ↩