Welcome to Day 2 of Sleekgeek’s free 30-Day You Healthy Habits Challenge!
Each day for 30 days we give you 1 habit to complete in order to help you eat, move, think, or sleep better.
Today’s task is to move 6,000 steps:
Moving more throughout the day is one of the easiest and most reliable ways of losing weight and dramatically improving your health.
Don’t believe us? Sedentary behaviour and physical inactivity is one of the top factors (along with smoking, high alcohol consumption, and obesity) that strongly reduces life expectancy and health-related quality of life.
Just sitting for more than 6 hours a day already statistically increases your risk for heart disease by more than 50%. You are also decreasing your span of quality life by roughly 7 years, and of course your risk for various types of cancers, among other things, has sky -rocketed.
Even if you go to the gym for 1 hour a day X 7 days a week… If you sit on your bum behind a computer, in the car, at a table, on the couch, or in your bed for the remaining 23 hours of your day then you are STILL sedentary.
Unsurprisingly, something as simple as examining the number of steps that people take throughout the day using a pedometer or activity tracker like the Jawbone can provide a clear distinction between sedentary behaviour, active behaviour, and the associated risks or benefits of each.
But do not worry, you do not need a fancy device to complete today’s task. We have a list of options and everyone can use at least one of the strategies to track their steps.
According to Mark Sisson, author of the Primal Blueprint, some of the reasons you should be walking more include:
- It helps reduce body fat.
- It improves glycemic control (better blood glucose control and more stable insulin levels after eating sugary or carbohydrate-rich meals).
- It improves triglyceride levels and lowers blood pressure.
- It’s good for your brain, (cognition, memory, academic performance, creativity, and logic tests.
- It reduces stress.
- It boosts immune function.
- It prevents falls in the elderly.
- It gives you a chance to think.
- It can be a kind of meditation.
- It keeps your buttocks engaged with the world, because excessive sitting causes glute inactivation and atrophy which brings about back pain, instability, and reduces strength.
- It’s well tolerated by people with arthritis and many other health conditions who might not otherwise be able to exercise. Remember a little bit of something is still better than nothing.
So how about we bump sitting less and moving more a little higher up our priority lists?
How to track your steps:
- Use a pedometer or fitness tracking device (e.g. Jawbone, Withings, Fitbit, Nike, Garmin, Polar, etc).
- Many smartphones have a built-in pedometer, and you can use Jawbone’s UP app for iOS and Android to link your phone to their app without needing a dedicated fitness tracking device.
What if you don’t have a pedometer / fitness tracker / compatible smartphone?
Ideally, your walking should be spread out throughout the day, but you can go for a few purposeful 10/20/30/60 minute walks if you need to too.
The average person walking at a brisk and determined pace can expect to walk these number of steps based on distance and time walked:
|Steps||Distance Walked||Time Spent Walking|
|7,000||5.6km||1 hour 10 minutes|
|8,000||6.4km||1 hour 20 minutes|
|9,000||7.2km||1 hour 30 minutes|
|10,000||8km||1 hour 40 minutes|
Today we are asking you to move 6,000 steps. If you feel this is too easy then add a bonus 2,000, 4,000, or however many steps you feel will be challenging enough.
How much should you ideally walk?
Preliminary pedometer indices for public health have established that:
- Those who take 5,000 steps a day or less are considered sedentary and at a higher risk for obesity, disease, and early death.
- Those who take 10,000 steps a day or more are considered active and typically have less body fat and better overall health.
For some people, these numbers are ridiculously easy, and for others they might seem utterly impossible.
That is why we have set a realistic start that you are free to scale to your level.
Being mindful of your steps is supposed to get you up and moving, beyond what you normally do in your daily life. You should be actively looking for ways to add in more movement and walking throughout your day such as going for walks at lunch, taking the stairs, parking in the back of the parking lot, walking the dog instead of watching TV, and so on.
See you tomorrow for your Day 3’s task.
If you have just stumbled on this page sign up for Sleekgeek’s full 30-Day Healthy Habits Challenge right here. It is 100% free.
Want more of this kind of thing?
- Read our blog post on 8 Steps to Un-Process your Fitness and Get Moving Today.
- Join our 30-Day Step Challenge (lots of walking).
- Join our 30-Day Move More Challenge (some walking, lots of bodyweight exercises).