How much we move throughout our day is a great way to gauge our overall health. Movement can be tracked using various devices measuring steps taken, heart rate and even sleep quality. Tracking our steps is a simple way to see if we are moving enough, but how much is enough?
The average American walks roughly 1.5-2 miles per day, that’s about 3,000- 4,000 steps. A few other studies have categorized steps in age groups; average age adults at 5,117 steps/day, older adults 2,000-9,000 steps/day and younger adults & children ranging 10,000- 16,000 steps/day. Of course there are other factors impacting our daily steps- on average men take more steps per day than women, those who have a sedentary occupation reflect less steps taken on average, and location matters here- studies have also found where we live (city, suburbs, or country) will impact steps taken.
So how many steps should we aim to take daily? We have been told 30 minutes of activity a day will improve our overall health. A 30 minutes brisk walk will reflect 3-4k steps (100 steps/min) while also getting the heart rate up slightly. This 30 minutes of daily movement is a baseline requirement and should be executed consistently. Once established as a habit you could then add in more steps or other activities for added health benefits. Step tracking can be used for weight loss, maintaining, and improving your fitness level. Active healthy adults should be aiming for 10,000 steps per day while very active individuals can shoot for 12,500+ steps per day. Keep in mind when establishing a step program the number of steps per day should be based on your goals and current activity level. If your just starting a step goal, our suggestion is to observe your steps over a week and get your average steps taken a day, then commit to a number that sounds challenging but attainable. For example runners need to build up time on their feet to increase endurance for longer runs. Implementing increased steps on an off cycle can help them maintain time on their feet with less impact on their body.
Let’s dive into some tips that will help us get more steps in throughout our day!
- Make a walk apart of your day. Wether it’s a morning walk or a walk after dinner, commit to a route that will take anywhere from 30-60mins. Side note- walking after eating also improves digestion and decreases blood pressure.
- Talk in person. Wanting to catch up with a friend, schedule a walk instead of a phone call. In an office setting, walk over to their desk instead of sending a text.
- Park further away. No need to keep circling to find the closest spot any longer. Not only will you have less stress about fighting someone else for “your spot” but you may also find your car getting less banged up from other doors hitting yours.
- Play. Play with your kids, play with your spouse, just play. Get outside. Race your kids to the mailbox, play basketball, try hop scotch, anything goes here. You won’t just get those extra steps in, you will build memories and strengthen your relationships.
- Do a challenge with a friend. A little competition can be motivating. If your not the competitive type the accountability will do the trick too! It’s a win win. You can share ways you are reaching your goals while encouraging one another!
Achieving a designated number of steps per day not only will improve your health, but it will make you feel accomplished. Step- tracking is a great way to stay accountable, help you overcome fitness goals, and a way to appreciate your progress. When looking for a device or app to track your steps go for user friendly, data shown, and for added detail something that can work with an app. Apps used in conjunction with a decive offer more detailed information and a community you can be apart of, if you choose.
Fitbit is our favorite device to track our steps. Options at a variety of prices are available.
Let's get out there and step, move and recalibrate to our healthiest selves!