Do you really need to take 10,000 steps?
While any activity that challenges us to be more active is a positive thing, the 10,000 step target should be seen as simply a guideline. Becoming more physically active than you are now is probably a better goal for most people than trying to hit an arbitrary number. Taking a lot of steps is certainly a good start. But any activity that gets you up and moving is good for your overall health. Walking is good, but so is dancing if that is what you like to do. Maybe you like to swim or garden. That’s great, get out there and do that too. Here in the cold north, shoveling a little snow might be a nice exercise too. (But don’t overdo that one! Too much shoveling can cause other problems – especially if you are not in the best of shape!) Yoga can also offer a lot of health benefits and can be done indoors during these cold months.
Did you know?
Regular physical exercise can improve your cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure. Consistent exercise can also lower cholesterol, improve blood circulation and reduce your heart attack and stroke risk. Of course you already know that exercise will increase your metabolism, burn calories and even help with weight loss – especially when combined with a healthy diet.
“Just Do It!”
The popular Nike slogan is perfect for those of us toying with getting healthier in the new year. So, skip the excuses and get started today. Even a small amount of exercise can make a big difference. A recent study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology indicated that just 5 to 10 minutes of running per day can cut the risk of death due to heart disease in half! Even a small amount of exercise can give you some big results.
So, start now, not tomorrow, not next week - NOW. Go for a short walk or do something just a little more physical than normal. If you like the idea of tracking your steps, check out the Fitbit or one of the other health trackers. Some will do a lot more than just count your steps. For example, the Fitbit will even tell you if your sleep patterns are healthy or need to improve.
But, start slowly. If exercise is something new or something you haven’t done in a while, ask your doctor what level of exercise is best for you. And once you get started, you might be surprised how quickly or how often you take 10,000 steps!
To your health!