We’ve all heard that we should be moving more, and that 10,000 steps per day is a good number to aim for. If you don’t have a pedometer or step-counter, 10,000 steps is around five miles of walking for most people.
The weight loss benefits of walking are often touted as a reason to get our steps in. But what if you’re already at a healthy weight or trying to take care of your health without focusing on the scale?
Here are four amazing benefits of getting 10,000 steps per day that aren’t weight related.
Improve your heart health
Cardiovascular exercise is vital for healthy heart functioning, and brisk walking is a great form of low-impact cardio. It can reduce cholesterol, improve blood pressure, and lower the risk of developing Type 2 Diabetes, all of which point to reduced risk of heart disease.
Whether you’ve been told you are at risk of heart disease or are just looking to take care of your heart health before problems develop, walking is an excellent way to take a step in the right direction.
Be more focused and productive
Studies have found that exercise boosts blood flow to the brain, which can improve concentration, boost memory, and result in better decision-making.
Many busy people, from students to office workers, spend most of their waking hours sitting at a desk. You might have even thought “I don’t have time to go for a walk!” But getting your 10,000 steps per day can actually improve your brain’s functioning, making those hours you spend at your desk far more productive.
Try starting your day with a 30-minute walk, getting off the bus or train to work a couple of stops early, or parking at the far end of the lot.
Strengthen your bones
Bones become stronger with regular exercise. Because walking involves your bones supporting your weight, making sure you get your steps in each day is a great way to keep them strong and healthy.
Stronger bones can reduce the risk of falls, breaks, and fractures, as well as lowering your likelihood of developing osteoporosis (a condition that weakens the bones) in later life.
Boost your mood
Moderate exercise has amazing mental health benefits. Walking releases neurotransmitters such as dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin, which play a role in regulating your mood. Over time, this can reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression.
Make your walk even more fun by listening to uplifting music, an interesting podcast, or a captivating audiobook while you stroll. Or walk with a friend or family member and turn it into a social activity.
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