Bad or Good: Have You Been Walking 10,000 Steps a Day?
If you haven’t been walking, you’re missing out on one of the nicest ways to add years to your life and to cheer your physical and mental health. Walking helps you lose weight, get fit, boost your mood, improve your sleep, reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer, keep your bones and your brain healthy, and even reduce food cravings! Another great thing about walking is that it’s inexpensive and relatively easy to do, which most likely explains why it has the highest compliance rate of any exercise. While you’re out, give a “happy holidays” or “merry Christmas” cheer to any neighbors you pass on your merry way.
To get the most benefit, rack up 10,000 or more steps each day, says Dr. Roizen. As much as half of that can easily come from your normal daily routine. Need motivation? Wear a pedometer. Even better, give a few to friends and family this holiday season and challenge one another to reach 10,000 steps every day, no naughty excuses (the doc will find out!).
If one 30- to 40-minute stretch of exercise is too difficult, start your day with a 10-minute walk, then grab two or three more 10-minute walks throughout the day. Anyone with high blood pressure, this is actually a good plan for you: Grabbing 10 minutes here and there provides you with more nice benefits, including even better control over your blood pressure than a single 40-minute treadmill session.