The Magic of 10,000 Steps a Day

Recently, a number of Rocky Mountain Health Plan’s employees received a Fitbit device as part of a wellness pilot program. The program measures motivation, activity levels, and physical changes throughout participation. Goals are being set, steps and sleep are being measured, and motivational tips are flying!

But…one thing the employees have noticed is how difficult it can be to reach 10,000 steps.

So, why is there a focus on 10,000 steps?

10,000 steps is roughly equivalent to the Surgeon General’s recommendation to accumulate 30 minutes of activity most days of the week. Research has shown this amount of activity can reduce your risk for diseases and help increase your quality of life. 10,000 steps, it turns out, is a lot! We thought we were pretty healthy in general, but in order to reach this goal, we had to increase our efforts throughout the day.

Whether or not you have a Fitbit, trying to walk 10,000 steps is a great fitness goal.

“When I first got my Fitbit, I was shocked to see that I only got 2,500 steps in a day! It was a good eye-opener into why I have been gaining weight. After four weeks with the Fitbit, I now am getting 10,000 steps in nearly every day. These are some changes that I made to my daily routines that have made the biggest impact on my activity levels:

  • When I get to work, I walk around the parking lot for two laps and two more laps when leaving work.
  • Try to walk some of the way to work or school – even if it’s just the second nearest bus stop.
  • Walk up or down the stairs, rather than taking the lift.
  • Every hour, I get up and walk for two minutes. Whether that’s in place or around the building, I make this a priority.
  • I schedule a 20 minute walk for some of my lunch break.
  • Before I go to bed, I walk around the house three times. You’ll be surprised at what you see when you’re walking around your own home.

As these participants are finding out, getting 10,000 steps in a day isn’t always doable but it’s an important health benchmark! It also seems like a lofty goal at first, but eventually becomes something that can be a long-term goal every day.

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