The Truth About Your 10,000 Steps

If getting your 10,000 steps in is something of a mainstay in your daily routine, read on.

Although 10,000 is a good number to aim for, the consensus amongst the fitness community is that it’s not necessarily how many steps you take a day, but how you take them.

First up, we should all be walking faster than we do to help with everything from cognitive health to a reduced risk of diseases including Alzheimer’s. But it’s not just your speed you might need to address, it’s your technique too. To get a smooth rhythm that will enable you to walk faster, you need to work on creating a good rhythm with your arms, swinging them faster and smoother. Only once you’ve mastered that will your feet follow suit.

As well as your rhythm it’s important to address your posture as you walk. Keeping your hips as level and as neutral as possible without leaning back or forward is the key to avoiding lower back and knee pain later. Once you’ve sorted your technique, it’s time to pick up the pace. This differs for everyone, but you should be walking briskly enough that it’s hard to talk while you’re doing it and you’re left a little out of breath afterwards.

Mixing up the intensity of your walking is also a good idea if you want to add a bit more resistance. Hills are great for this but even if you don’t have a steep walk to go on, add variety by finding walks with differing elements of terrain. If you really can’t manage this, a few flights of stairs are better than nothing.

Finally, the all-important number of steps. While 10,000 is a good benchmark to aim for, many experts believe it should be closer to 12,000 if you really want to start seeing benefits that include lower BMI and lower all-cause mortality. If that’s too much of a stretch then your age might come into it, with some studies revealing that anything over 7,000 is helpful for those over the age of 40.