7 Health Benefits of Walking 10,000 Steps a Day

Diana Bone MSN, FNP-C

Millions of Americans are working from home, and have been since COVID-19 started. That’s why it’s more important than ever to get out of the house and improve your health by walking.

Many of us are putting on our Fitbits and Apple watches to keep track of those steps and calories burned. But how many of us achieve the recommended 10,000 steps per day? And is it even beneficial? Let’s find out.

Health Benefits of Walking 10,000 Steps a Day

  1. Promotes weight loss. Walking 10,000 steps per day is approximately five miles. 3,000 steps can be a brisk walk or jogging pace to help burn enough calories to lose weight.
  2. Clears up the mind. According to a Stanford University study, walking opens the mind and helps the flow of ideas. It influences creativity and helps improve thinking abilities.
  3. Improves sleep. Taking more steps during the day may be enough to help us sleep better. Try adding a 20-minute stroll during a lunch break at work, or walking the dog for an extra block or two.
  4. Decreases anxiety and depression. Some studies show a quick 10-minute walk can decrease a depressed mood. While the effects may be temporary, they prove that simple activity can deliver relief…like aspirin!
  5. Improves blood pressure. A strong heart can pump more blood with less effort. If your heart can work less to pump, your blood pressure decreases. Becoming more active can lower your systolic blood pressure by an average of 4 to 9 points.
  6. Stabilizes blood glucose. Walking makes the muscles use more glucose, and over time lowers your blood sugar levels. This can make you more sensitive to insulin.
  7. Reduces the risk of a heart attack. Countless studies show that walking has Cardiovascular disease-related health benefits. Both healthy and chronic patient populations.

Walks can help with mental health as well as physical health. No matter what, however you can incorporate walking into your daily routine, you’re likely to see some benefit that will add up over time.

References

Murtagh, Elaine., Murphy, Marie., Boone-Heinonen, Janne. Walking-the first steps in cardiovascular disease prevention. Curr Opin Cardiol. 2010 September: 25 (5): 490-496.

Tudor-Locke, Catrine. Steps to Better Cardiovascular Health: How Many Steps Does It Take to Achieve Good Health and How Confident Are We in this Number? Curr Cardio Risk Rep (2010) 4: 271-276.

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