The 10,000 steps Challenge – Done It Yet?

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If running is not your thing, then you are in for some good news. Walking at least 10,000 steps a day has been shown to reduce body weight and keep you healthy.

Clinical studies have shown that those people who walk regularly are thinner than those who do not (Krumm, 2006).

When it comes to exercise, there are different forms of it. Some prefer sports, some prefer running, some swimming and some walking.

Unfortunately, walking has sometimes been swept under the carpet as not being that good a form of exercise, but that is far from the truth. Let’s take a look at why.

The Weight Loss Formula

Losing weight is a matter of simple mathematics – Calories eaten must be lesser than calories burned.

‘Calories burned – Calories eaten = Weight loss’

Why Walking Is Great

The number one advantage of walking to lose weight is that it can be done anywhere and at any time. If you are on your lunch break and fancy a burst of exercise, then go for a quick 15 minute walk.

Alternatively, you can walk to your local shop instead of drive.

Walking can be done wherever you want – you don’t need expensive equipment or trainers to tell you how.

The current recommendation from the American Heart Association is 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week, which amounts to 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Walking at a brisk pace counts as moderate intensity.

10,000 steps a day is believed to be equivalent to just over 150 minutes of exercise per week. In other words, if you manage to do this in your day to day life, then you will easily achieve your weekly exercise goal. After all, how hard is it to put one foot in front of another?!

Counting The Steps

Unless you have all the time in the world or love to count, we recommend you don’t sit and calculate how many steps you walk in a day.

Instead, use a device such as a pedometer, or there are now numerous apps that you can download onto your smartphone that can do the job for you.

On an average, we in India probably walk no more than 3000 steps a day, and this depends heavily on the type of work we do. Those with busy jobs that require walking up and down stairs daily will likely take more steps than those who work in front of a computer the whole day.

Just of note –

2000 steps = almost 15 minutes walking

In order to cover 10,000 steps or more a day, a change in regular routine is needed. If you have the time to dedicate to exercise regularly, then you can quite easily achieve your goal.

But if you can’t, then start with simple steps such as walking to nearby destinations or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

Don’t Forget Your Diet

Weight loss is not just about exercise; it is also about maintaining a healthy diet. According to the authors of the ‘Step diet‘, reducing the food portion size by a quarter and combining this with regular walking of 10,000 steps per day can help you reduce your weight steadily and in a healthy fashion.

Diet is simple – just cut out the carbs (rice and rice products) and replace them with more fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat and wheat based products. There is no need for you to become a person who counts each and every calorie that they consume; instead just make sure you don’t eat foods that you know are high in calories (like junk foods and fried foods).

Stick to your exercise plan, and you will start to see the weight dropping off every month.

Making A Start

Before you get going, take some time to make a note of what your regular habits are. How often do you eat outside? What kind of foods do you indulge in mostly? How much water do you drink in a day? What is your staple food? How much exercise do you do a day?

With your pedometer, you can make a ‘baseline assessment’ of how much exercise you do in your day to day life. If you find that your steps don’t even cross 3000 a day, then it is most certainly time for a change.

Remember, well begun is half done, and unless you are motivated enough and possess the dedication needed, you are most certainly looking at become obese or overweight as time passes by.

The ‘Step Diet‘ plan has been endorsed by many in the United States, and we believe that the strategies mentioned in the book are applicable to people all across the globe. It is filled with practical tips on how to get started, and if followed will no doubt improve your health and reduce your weight.

Maintenance Is Key

Its not just about short term weight loss; its about keeping the weight down. Have a plan in place as to how you wish to maintain a healthy body weight, and make sure you do your best to stick to it.

In a study published in Annals of Family Medicine, pedometer based walking programs led to a modest reduction in body weight, but this was only significant when the exercise was continued and maintained (Richardson, 2008).

Don’t worry, it’s human to falter from time to time, so don’t get yourself down if you slip from your regular routine occasionally. Just make sure you get back on track without delay, and compensate for any slip ups you may have made along the way.

By starting off with the ‘Step Diet‘ regime, you will lose weight soon, but it is ultimately up to you to continue practicing what works for you to keep your body weight down.

The ‘Step Diet’ book is available online if you wish to buy it.

Our Challenge

HeartSense challenges you to walk 10,000 steps a day. Believe that you can do it and nothing is impossible.

Start with a gentle walk, and build up over a matter of weeks. Before you know it, you will be on your way to getting fit, losing weight and feeling great!

On a final note, try and mix and match your exercise. You don’t just have to stick to walking; any other activity such as yoga or jogging can all help tremendously.



References

1. Krumm, Emily M., et al. “The relationship between daily steps and body composition in postmenopausal women.” Journal of women’s health 15.2 (2006): 202-210.
2. Richardson, Caroline R., et al. “A meta-analysis of pedometer-based walking interventions and weight loss.” The Annals of Family Medicine 6.1 (2008): 69-77.
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Dr Vivek Baliga B
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Dr Vivek Baliga B

Consultant Internal Medicine And Cardiovascular Sciences at Baliga Diagnostics Pvt Ltd
Dr Baliga is a consultant in Internal Medicine and Cardiology with an interest in diabetes and cardiovascular disease. He received his training in India and the UK where he completed his post graduate training and his doctorate. He then completed his MBA from University of Phoenix, USA. He has completed the post graduate program in Cardiology from Johns Hopkins University and participated in the Advanced Certificate Course in Diabetes from the Cleveland Clinic, USA. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Lipid Management from Middlesex University, UK. He is the managing partner of Baliga Diagnostics, Bangalore. He is also the founder of HeartSense and is a keen advocate of patient empowerment, having written almost every article on this website and more. In his spare time, he enjoys running and spending time with his son. Find Dr Vivek Baliga on LinkedIn here - http://heartsense.in/linkedin.
Dr Vivek Baliga B
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