We’ve all heard that walking 10,000 steps a day is the pathway to health and fabulosity. It’s meditative, gets our heart rate up if we’re doing more than sashaying, drops our BP, and shoots serotonin to welcoming receptors in the brain. Huzzah! And it burns calories.
Finally, an exercise truly devoid of downsides. It may not be flashy or cool, but according to growing scientific evidence, walking, done often and properly, can deliver an array of benefits that are just as impressive as those often gained from sportier regimens.
Practically speaking, the average person has a stride length of 2.1-2.5 feet and walks between 1,000 and 3,000 steps a day. It takes over 2,000 steps to walk one mile, so if you’re serious about doing 10K, you’re going to walk at least five miles. That’s a worthy and achievable commitment, because it requires little equipment (shoes and a tracker) and delivers loads of benefits. I’ve listed some useful walking resources for you at the end of this post.
Treadmills bore the living bojangles out of me, but give me the streets of Manhattan or Paris – or a hike in the woods – and I’ll walk as far and as long as my feet are happy. That means comfortable shoes.
Knowing I have shoes that feel good – and look good (we’re talking Paris, here) – that support my good intentions to get physical, wherever and whenever I can, is what Equipt is all about: practical, beautiful comfort.
The payout from a committed walking program is manifold. You burn about 500 calories doing 10,000 steps (or 100 per mile); more if you’re hiking up and downhill. That ratchets up the burn pretty quickly. The health benefits are obvious, but let’s face it, this thing is not just about virtue. At least not for me. It’s also about the latitude it grants for the occasional indulgence or fit of spontaneity that’s been known to happen. (Consistency being the last refuge of the unimaginative and all.)
For fun and to illustrate the point, I looked up some 500-calorie equivalencies that I find central to a happy life (mine). If you walk 10K just once a week, here’s what it allows:
♥ 2.71 glasses of wine (half a bottle…up to you if that’s in one sitting)…OR
♥ ¾ cup of Cold Stone Creamery French Vanilla ice cream…OR
♥ 1 Starbuck’s Almond Croissant (with 170 calories left over)…OR
♥ ½ cup of guacamole and 24 chips…OR
♥ 1 margarita + ¼ cup of guacamole + 21 chips. Olé.
Calculate your own favorites right here to see what walking10K will neutralize on behalf of your hips. And then let me know, OK? I’m always looking for inspiration.
GREEN EXERCISE: A FAREWELL TO GYM
Research shows that walking in a natural environment (anything green) actually brings down blood pressure, reduces depression and makes serotonin ping. It’s not always possible to get to the woods, I know, but eschewing the treadmill to connect with nature has significant rewards. It’s why a beautiful golf course delivers benefits, regardless of your score. The average round is between 12,000-16,000 steps; higher if military golf is involved. Happens. So the next time you have a meltdown over your round, remember that a higher good was achieved. Ommm.
Thoreau extolled the benefits of walking in his celebrated article on the subject in The Atlantic magazine back in 1862, and now, some hundred and fifty years later, psychologists have validated his claims. They’ve taken blood samples and measured brain waves of ‘green walkers’ and determined that moving in nature reduces stress and boosts well-being. (They needed a study for that?)
The restorative thing that happens when you commune with nature is palpable and free and yours for the taking – if you pay attention. The marriage of intention and attention is key. Try turning off the music or podcast on your next walk and see what revelations appear as you move in silence – what new ideas or a grand solutions materialize when the trees rustle – or waves lap the shore. Plug into your dog’s joy as she hurls herself into a pile of leaves. Then witness how slow and even your heart rate is when you finish – and how clear the mind.
WALKING RESOURCES & INFORMATION FOR YOU
♥ Fitness Apps (check out the iTunes App Store)