You see it everywhere. It’s been mentioned time and time again that you need to try and aim for 10,000 steps a day to maintain optimal mental and physical health.
Obviously, if you’re smashing the hamburgers then I probably wouldn’t call your health ‘optimal’ but if you’re stuck in a horrible place with your weight or mindset and don’t know where to start – maybe here is a good idea!
Below I’m going to give you my top 7 reasons as to why hitting 10,000 steps per day has the potential to change your life.
1. It keeps your daily expenditure consistent
Keeping your daily expenditure consistent is key to giving you a foundation on which you can start to improve your fitness.
Within the fitness industry, your daily expenditure is also known as NEAT.
NEAT stands for Non-Exercise Active Thermogenesis. It’s basically the calories you burn outside of exercising. This includes things like fidgeting, going to the toilet and general walking around.
Keeping NEAT at a constant level is great if you’re thinking about starting to track your weight or if you want to start trying to lose some excess body fat.
2. Reduces stress
This one only applies to if you’re walking outside. Whether it’s sunny or if you’re just in Scotland, according to readersdigest.ca, walking outside releases neurotransmitters in our brain such as dopamine and endorphins that make us feel good.
Additionally, it almost acts like meditation as you’ll be too busy taking in the scenery and listening to your music (or whatever you want to do) to be worrying about the future.
Win-win all round.
3. Improves cholesterol
First of all, let’s talk about what cholesterol is.
Cholesterol can be ‘good’ or ‘bad. ‘Good’ cholesterol (HDL) is usually found in healthy fatty foods such as olive oil, nuts, avocado, etc. ‘Bad’ cholesterol (LDL) is found in food with high saturated fats and most meats.
You can probably guess this one but the reason walking 10,000 steps helps to clear the LDL cholesterol that is clogging up your arteries.
This is because there is more blood being pumped through them!
4. Increases endurance
The way you increase your endurance is through strengthening your cardiovascular system.
This is a fancy way of saying you improve the amount of oxygen your blood can carry to your muscles, therefore you can use the muscle for longer before it becomes fatigued.
Walking gets your heart working harder than if you were just sitting on your butt cheeks playing Xbox. As such, endurance increases!
5. It opens a doorway into a fitter lifestyle
Gathering the motivation to pull yourself out of the house and onto the street to go for a walk requires a certain level of discipline.
This discipline needed isn’t a far stretch away from that needed to start working out and getting yourself into much better shape. The hardest part is starting so once you have that sussed, you’re onto a winner.
I’m not saying you’ll have abs and banging buns but it could get you onto a ‘Couch to 5k‘ and upwards!
6. Gives you a chance for some headspace
This is similar to point 2 but for those who don’t find themselves super stressed.
Sometimes it’s nice to completely disconnect from the world, just go for a nice walk and have some time to yourself.
I’m fortunate enough to live near a forest so I like to walk through the wilderness and just reflect on myself. However, if you’re a city dweller then going for a quiet evening walk in the eery concrete jungle is also nice… right?
7. Improved cognitive function
As well as increasing the blood flow to your muscles, walking 10,000 steps a day will also increase the amount of blood going to your brain.
The result of more blood going to your brain is that there is more oxygenated blood in your brain at any one time and therefore helps you operate at peak mental condition.
If you can think of any additional reasons as to why it’s super important to walk 10,000 steps per day, please comment below!
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