It’s part two of our series introducing the 4S’s: sweat, steps, shiver, and strength. A list of four daily non-negotiables, one—or a combination—of which you must do every day. The reason? To live happier, healthier, and longer. So, this week is all about steps.
Setting Your Step Goal
Even making a minimal change to your amount of daily movement comes with significant benefits. In fact, according to research, spending just 30 minutes a day doing anything but simply sitting—or lying down—can reduce risk of premature death by up to 35%. Of course, it depends on the intensity—for more gentle exercise, the number is around 17%. Still, a rather compelling figure. You can find more information on how to do so in our previous blog posts.
So why steps? I call them, ‘the foundation of fitness’. And they’re probably the easiest way to get more movement into your day. And getting them in doesn’t just improve your heart health, but also your focus, and energy. Not to mention it strengthens your muscles, bones, and of course, lungs. Now, I’m not going to broadcast my daily step goal; it’s very personal to me, as should yours be to you. What I mean is you’ll know what is a realistic target for you. A target that takes into account the rhythms of your day, your expectations, your commute, for example, and everything else.
You’ll have heard a lot of people saying they aim for 10,000 steps a day. And while this might be a good place to start, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. If you find yourself struggling to reach that amount, lower it to something more achievable. Don’t fall into the trap of setting a goal that is too high—it will likely leave you wanting to give up!
Optimising Your Steps
There are a number of smart ways to get more steps into your day, such as stacking activities to combine them with walking. So, rather than carving out time in your busy schedule, perhaps you could take phone calls while on the go. Maybe you could increase the amount of your on-foot commute, such as walking to the next bus stop (if you’ve got time), or getting off a stop earlier. If you usually drive down to your local shops, why not walk instead? Going to the supermarket? Park at the farthest end of the car park. And so on.
When it comes to increasing your step count, it pays to get creative. By coming up with ideas for how to move more without adding to your workload, you can save time for the things you really want to do whilst reaping those health benefits!
Small changes have a big impact over time. What will you do to get your steps up? I’ll be back next week to talk about the third S: shiver. All the best for now.
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