Contributed by- Dr. Pooja Chaudhary
Walking is the most ancient exercise and still the best modern exercise!
We all are well aware that physical activity is good for our health, yet many of us fail to make it a part of our daily regime and avail its health benefits. Of all the options, one habit which is highly recommended to stay healthy is walking. Any person who does it on regular basis will vouch for it benefits; how it keeps them physically, emotionally and mentally healthy.
Walking and You
Walking is a gentle low impact exercise that is easy, free and can be done by everyone. It is considered as a boon for overall health, as the rhythmic movement of the legs not only keeps the blood flow regulated but also exposes a person to the fresh environment. Listed below are few advantages of walking 5000 steps per day:
- Walking strengthens the heart
- It lowers disease risk
- It helps in controlling high blood pressure
- It helps in maintaining a healthy balance of cholesterol levels
- Walking improves blood sugar levels by proper utilization of insulin in the body
- It provides protection against Atherosclerosis
- It helps in preventing the onset of arthritis
- Helps in weight loss
- Prevents dementia
- It tones up the legs (this includes calves, quads and hamstrings)
- Regular walks are beneficial for expecting mothers
- Walking improves blood circulation, balances hormones and provides anti-aging benefits.
- Keeps the skin healthy and glowing
- The most important benefit is that it makes a person happy
Recommended Step Count
Daily walking should be a part of a healthy lifestyle. But the question that arises is how many steps a day should an average person take?
The recommended step count per day according to age is as follows:
- Children (8-10 years): 12,000-16,000 steps
- Youth: 11,000-12,000 steps
- Adults (20-50 years): 7000-13,000 steps
- Older Adults (50-70 years): 6,000-8,500 steps
- Adults living with disabilities or chronic diseases: 3,500-5,500 steps
By following the recommended steps per day chart, you will know how far you need to walk to stay in shape. On an average, a person walks approximately 2,000 steps for 1 mile (about 1.6 kilometers).
It is interesting to know that our lifestyle can be classified according to our level of physical activity. Following are the steps per day chart which can classify our lifestyle:
- Sedentary lifestyle: Steps less than 5000 per day is an indicator of being inactive and sitting more than required, raising health risks.
- Low active lifestyle: Steps taken between 5,000 & 7,499 daily is an indication of a low active lifestyle.
- Moderately active: 7,500-9,999 steps daily includes some exercise or walking and can be considered moderately active.
- Active: 10,000 steps daily is an indicator of an individual being as active.
- Highly active: Individuals who take more than 12,500 steps daily are considered to follow a highly active lifestyle.
How to Start?
If you have just started out on a walking regime, then all you require is a good pair of shoes, comfortable clothing, and wish to walk. To begin with, one should walk at a comfortable pace and work gradually on increasing the pace and distance. Make sure to drink plenty of water before, during, and after walking.
If you are a beginner, then start with 5000 steps per day in the first month, moving on to 7500 steps per day in the next month and then gradually increasing to 10,000 steps per day. This gradual progress can be initiated by adding 100 steps per day, after achieving the previous day’s level comfortably. Completing 10,000 steps each day burns about 2000 to 3500 extra calories each week.
How to Count your Steps?
Counting your steps is one of the ways to monitor and log the fitness level. The best way to keep track on your steps each day is by using a pedometer. The pedometer is a small step calculator that can be clipped to the belt or pants pocket. There are many fitness apps that keep a track on your physical activities. Download one to help you achieve your targets.
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