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Getting In 10,000 Steps In A Day

It’s no secret that living an active lifestyle can help you achieve and maintain the quality of life you want regardless of age. While physical capabilities often change over time, there are a variety of options for exercise and healthy living that can be beneficial regardless of your age or current health.

One popular program for staying in shape involves taking 10,000 steps a day, which equates to about five miles of walking. The plan originated in Japan in the mid-1960s as a marketing campaign for a pedometer company and has left its efficacy open to debate. While the merits of 10,000 steps a day may be debatable, there is no controversy over the benefits of incorporating regular exercise into your lifestyle.

Taking 10,000 steps a day requires a tracking device like a pedometer or FitBit to count your steps. As with any exercise program, it is important to start slowly and add 1,000 steps a week until you reach your goal to avoid burnout or injury. You may need more than 10,000 steps to achieve weight loss goals, or fewer if you’re recovering from surgery or injury.

While the 10,000 steps a day program isn’t specifically recommended by the Centers for Disease Control, the agency does recommend a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate activity each week in addition to at least two days of muscle-strengthening exercises.

If walking isn’t for you, or if you would like to try different or more strenuous forms of exercise, it’s a good idea to consult with your doctor before starting any type of exercise plan. Popular forms of exercise that may be appropriate for you include:

  • Swimming provides an excellent form of cardiovascular exercise that works your entire body without stressing your joints.
  • Elliptical trainers allow you to achieve benefits similar to those from walking or jogging while removing much of the strain from your joints.
  • Yoga or other flexibility work can reduce aches and pain while maintaining or improving range of motion and reducing injury risk from falling.
  • Bicycling, conventional or stationary, is another option for an aerobic workout with decreased stress on your body.
  • Resistance training using light weights or bodyweight exercises can help maintain muscle mass as you age.

The benefits of regular exercise are numerous and can contribute to a healthy and satisfying lifestyle. Commonly reported benefits include:

  • Feeling better about oneself.
  • Weight loss and maintaining a healthy muscle to fat body composition.
  • Greater muscle strength and bone density.
  • Increased energy levels.
  • Reduced incidence of chronic disease.
  • Increased skin and brain health.
  • Improved sleep and restfulness.
  • Reduced chronic pain.

To achieve and maintain a healthy weight and quality of life, you’ll need more than just exercise. The following are key components of a successful long-term healthy lifestyle.

  • A healthy diet that stays within an appropriate caloric range for your weight and activity level.
  • Reviewing prescribed medications with your doctor may identify negative side effects that may be reduced or eliminated by making changes.
  • Drinking a minimum of eight glasses of water a day can help you stay hydrated and keep you feeling full for longer, potentially reducing your caloric intake.
  • Finding support from family and friends to help you stay motivated to improve your health is important. Becoming involved in the health community in your area can be motivating and encouraging.

Memorial Hospital of Converse County can help you achieve your lifestyle goals even if you have a pre-existing medical condition. Diabetics can receive education and support through the Marge Wilson Wellness Center and your primary care provider is always available to discuss your options.

However you choose to pursue your lifestyle goals, taking the first steps to better health is often the hardest part. Taking a few minutes to plan out your plan can pay dividends for years, so why not start today?