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To this day I still believe this form of exercise is highly underrated. But this pandemic has brought out many walkers which is awesome.
If you can’t hit 10,000 steps, all good. But you should increase your baseline to a realistic target you can achieve each day.
In a recent study from University of Texas1, researchers found that reduced daily steps (2500-5000 steps/day) lowered subjects' ability to oxidize fat, and increased triglyceride levels.
This increased sedentary lifestyle played a role in the formation of what the scientist call “exercise resistance”
They defined exercise resistance as a condition in which chronic physical inactivity blunts the positive, acute cardiovascular and metabolic adaptation you’d normally see from exercise. And this occurred only after 2 days of reduced steps. Not good.
They also found that at around 8500 steps, the effects of exercise resistance where blunted.
A few takeaways from the study
1. It’s a small sample size, but we can still learn lots from it.
2. Small improvements in habits matter. Make little changes whenever and wherever you can.
3. Any movement is better than nothing. Aim for more steps! Consistency beats intensity.
Try out some of these types of walking
Just focus on your steps, breath, and observing thoughts & the world around you. This helps with creativity and well-being through divergent thinking.
Walk to the grocery store, walk the dog, clean the house, cook
listen to a podcast, audiobook
walk with a friend, call a loved one, do a walking meeting
Focus on solving problems by setting your intent on one problem and holding it in your mind as you walk. This is more convergent thinking.
As the name implies, just wander aimlessly. Unconscious Thought Theory would suggest you would unlock some creativity with the divergent thinking.
Help your body handle more CO2, activate more parasympathetic (rest and digest) activity, and increase blood flow. Only nasal breathe. Get the breath low using your diaphragm. Breathe quiet. Focus on creating a slower exhale than inhale. Try 3 seconds in, 4 seconds out. Or you can count your steps on the inhale and exhale. Over time, increase the exhale.
Just walk, damnit. Enjoy.
The notion of taking 10,000 steps wasn’t originally based off science. The research started because of a pedometer created in Japan back in 1965 which was named “the 10,000 step meter.”