10,000 Steps a Day - Walk your Way to Fitness
Here's the not-so-good news - 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day, which sounds like loads, actually defines a 'sedentary lifestyle'.
Yes, to enjoy all the health benefits of walking you need to up the number of steps you take to get nearer to the magic 10,000 steps a day and 30-minutes-worth of those steps must be taken briskly.
Are you taking 10,000 steps a day?
The only way to find out, is to invest in a pedometer. They're widely available at sports shops and you can get one for between £5-£10 ($7-$15).
Wear your pedometer all day every day for a week, logging the number of steps you do every day. This will give you a good idea of how much you're averaging each day over the week.
Unless you're already very active, the chances are that you're only covering between 3000 to 4000 steps a day.
To check the distance of your favourite walks, you can use the Google pedometer. This handy little gizmo isn't strictly speaking a pedometer, in that you can't carry it with you to count the number of steps you do. But you can use it to measure the length of your local walks and see how many miles you're covering - try it, it's fun.
Why walk 10,000 steps a day?
Walking is a great form of exercise for midlife women. Even if you're not looking to lose weight walking, you can still improve your heart health, lower your blood pressure, improve your mood and cut your risk of Type 2 diabetes by adding more steps to your day.
What if I can't manage 10,000 steps a day?
Walking 10,000 steps every day - about 5 miles - is a challenge for midlife women, many of whom are already juggling 10,000 things in their day to day lives!
If walking's your favourite form of exercise, then 10,000 steps could be a great goal for you. If you are looking to improve overall fitness and avoid menopausal weight gain, you could get better results with other forms of exercise that work your heart harder or build valuable muscle to strengthen your body.
Either way, increasing the number of steps you walk each day can do you nothing but good. And if you can also remember to include 30 minutes of fast walking - and you can do this in 10-minute bursts - so much the better.
How to walk more steps every day
Is it safe to walk 10,000 steps a day?
As always, if you have specific health concerns which could be affected by exercise, such as a heart condition or arthritis, then you should always check with your physician before starting on a new exercise plan.
Check our info on warm ups and safe exercise.
That said, walking is a safe form of exercise, which doesn't make draconian demands on any under-used muscles.
Get yourself a pair of walking shoes for women - cushioned trainers are fine - and make sure you walk a safe route where you're not at risk from traffic.
If you want to try doing 10,000 steps a day, build up gradually. Log your usual number of steps for a few days, then add an extra 500 for a couple of days, and build up in stages of 500 extra.
Whether you decide to add 10,000 steps a day to your exercising life, or you simply add more steps wherever you can, you'll be increasing your activity levels - and that is the very best thing a woman in the menopausal phase of life can do.
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The Doctor says...
Dr Jane, our Health Advisor, says:
'Using a pedometer can help you track how much exercise you're getting - but if you're the type who punishes yourself if you don't meet a set target, then I'd advise you not to use a pedometer!
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