Walking is one of the easiest ways to get more physically active, lose weight and become healthier. It is an ideal exercise for people of all ages who are interested in being more active. Evidence shows that physical activity, including walking, has substantial health benefits. In fact, walking is a great way for a person’s overall health improvement and maintenance. It takes only 30 minutes every day to increase cardiovascular fitness, reduce body fat, strengthen bones, and boost muscle endurance. Regular walking reduces the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke, and other illnesses.
It is always good to monitor your physical activity. Maybe you have heard the recent guidelines about walking for 10,000 steps per day. Wearing a pedometer is an easy way to track your daily steps as it is used to estimate the distance traveled on foot by recording the number of steps taken.
How many steps per day are enough?
The classification of pedometer-determined physical activity in healthy adults is the following:
1) Under 5,000 steps/day: "Sedentary"
2) Between 5,000 and 7,499 steps/day: "Low Active"
3) 7,500 steps/day and more: "Physically Active"
“…Reaching 10,000 steps per day is the perfect target…”
According to the World Health Organization and the National Physical Activity Guidelines of Qatar, adults between ages 18 to 64 years are recommended to be active for 150 minutes per week. A sedentary person only averages 1,000 to 3,000 steps a day; however, adding more steps will result in significant health benefits. Some studies identify the duration of 30 minutes moderate intensity walking as equivalent to 3,000-4,000 steps per day.
“…Adding just 2,000 more steps to your day can prevent weight gain…”
“…Walking burns about four calories per one minute…”
Need a walking plan?
Wear the pedometer every day for one week from the time you wake up until bedtime. Start slowly and try to increase your walking pattern gradually. To get the health benefits from walking, it needs to be of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (Moderate-intensity aerobic activity is when you are walking fast enough to raise your heart and breathing rates). By the end of the week you will know your average daily steps.
You can start with ten minutes per day and gradually increase your walking routine.
As mentioned above, a duration of 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity is recommended to stay healthy.
You can break it down…
- 30 minutes per day x 5 days per week = 150 minutes per week
Walking briskly for 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week, will help you meet this goal. However, any 10-minute bout of physical activity helps.
You can even split it up…
- 10 minutes + 10 minutes + 10 minutes = 30 minutes
If you can't walk for 30 consecutive minutes, you can take three 10-minute walks instead.
For more health benefits and to control your weight, you may need to walk more...
- Aim for 300 minutes each week, or about 1 hour a day for 5 days. The more you walk, the more health benefits you may gain!
If you are in a poor physical condition, or at any point you feel that you are progressing too rapidly, slow down and try smaller increases. If you have any health concerns, seek your physician’s advice prior to starting or changing your exercise routine.
Tips to remember:
- Choose the appropriate walking shoes
- Wear comfortable clothing
- Drink lots of water
- Finish off with few gentle stretches