The problem with 10,000 steps a day

morning strollIt’s recommended that we take 10,000 steps a day. However, a recent study conducted at Stanford University found that the global average for steps taken per day is 4,961. Though the UK’s average is above this stat, it’s a far cry from the suggested amount.

But the 10,000 steps figure is not based on science in any case. It originated in a Japanese marketing campaign for a new step counter in the 1960s. Most people find it hard to do 10,000 steps in a day anyway. The good news is you don’t have to. You can get even better benefits from a less arduous programme.

Research shows that three 10 minute brisk bouts of walking a day will achieve the aim of getting your heart beating faster which reduces the risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. It will also help with back pain. You should aim to walk fast enough to be out of breath enough so you can’t sing but can still talk.

Walking has many benefits, besides reducing the risk of heart disease and back pain it can help you sleep easy! Where you can, swap walking on pavements for paths in green spaces or along the seafront, you’re likely to improve your mood, get the creative juices flowing and reduce feelings of depression. With so many lovely green areas and the coast in and around Brighton and Hove, a little change in your daily routine can do wonders for your wellbeing!

A good walking technique is key to ensure your back is properly supported. Tighten your stomach muscles to engage your core and support your entire body weight. Spinal alignment is vital; try to stand up straight and keep your chin parallel to the ground. Let your arms swing naturally and roll through your foot from heel to toe.

It’s also a good idea to shorten your strides; this will reduce the strain on your knees, calves and shins. Make sure you get the right technique as you start off so that bad habits don’t develop! Getting the right footwear is key to ensuring you establish a good walking method. When buying shoes you’re going to walk in make sure you go at the end of the day as your feet will be a little swollen meaning you’ll purchase the right size. It’s important that your toes have room to move and that your heel doesn’t slip. This will give you ample support both in your ankle and further up in your lower back.

Try incorporating a walk into your daily routine. By releasing endorphins and boosting vitamin D levels, walking’s benefits will leave you feeling refreshed and energized as well as strengthening your core and back muscles.

As part of your next appointment, we can measure your foot size so that you can get the correct sized walking shoes.