As time goes on, society becomes more sedentary due to a number of factors. From jobs that are demanding more hours and causing people to be tied to their desks, to long commutes making time sitting in a car more frequent, it can be hard to get many steps in throughout the day. Studies have shown that in more sedentary countries like the United States, people are only getting 3,000 to 4,000 steps per day.
That’s a far cry from the universally known 10,000 steps per day goal. While there are some sources that say you don’t need that many to be healthy while others say that you need a few thousand more, simply having a goal can do wonders for you both physically and mentally. Let’s take a look at how step goals can boost your health.
Setting a daily step goal helps to break down your day better so that you can manage your time more effectively. Many smartwatches will alert you when it’s been an hour since you’ve gotten any physical activity.
As such, you can set your day into hourly blocks that include getting your steps in. Having this type of structure will help you mentally and physically, and even helps you get to sleep easier at night.
When you’re tracking your steps and trying to hit your goals on a daily basis, you’re more likely to lose weight according to studies. Wearing a pedometer works as a motivating tool that holds you accountable, especially if it’s a smartwatch that sends reminders to move on an hourly basis.
Every day becomes a challenge, and you’ll also be more motivated to eat properly. A study conducted by Harvard University found that people who track their steps lose up to six pounds more on average than those that don’t.
Hitting your daily step goal is most thought of as a great weight loss tool, but it can also help reduce the signs of aging and prevent premature death. One major study showed that adults who were 60 years or older saw their risk of premature death drop dramatically when getting 6,000 steps per day.
Those that are younger than 60 saw the same drop in premature death risk when getting at least 8,000 steps per day. There’s one big reason why your body ages better when hitting your step goal.
And that reason is cardiovascular health. While walking, especially at a brisk pace, will help your cardiovascular system tremendously, the fact that you’re getting up and moving at all also helps. Sitting for extended periods of time can be detrimental to your cardiovascular system.
This has been proven in more than a dozen major studies, which suggest that taking a break from sitting every 30 minutes is paramount. These same studies suggest that getting 60-70 minutes per day of brisk walking will not only get you to your step goals but also counteract the effects of sitting at a desk or on the couch all day.
So How Many Steps Do I Need?
Of course, there’s the age-old question of how many steps you need in a day. 10,000 steps have remained the benchmark for many years, but there wasn’t scientific proof put behind this number for a long time. Some cite a Japanese company, Yamasa, as being the one to set the 10,000 standards when they made a wearable pedometer.
Still, studies have shown that 10,000 is a solid baseline to set as your goal each day. It’s around 8,000 to 10,000 that you’ll get the benefits that we’ve mentioned already. Those that are already walking 10,000 per day, they’re suggested to keep up that mark unless they’re trying to lose weight. At that point, getting 12,000 to 15,000 per day is suggested to keep the calories burning while also adjusting their diet.