10,000 steps to a narrower waist

Walking is the safest exercise. Beginners, diabetics, those with anaemia or high blood pressure can set their own comfortable pace so as not to hike blood pressure and heart rate alarmingly. Walking can be accomplished anywhere anytime too and if you have company, it gets interesting.

Benefits of walking are numerous, from weight loss to preventing cancer. Since abdominal obesity is a definite risk for diseases like diabetes, hypertension, metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular diseases, certain types of cancer and possibly dementia, then walk you should, to stay healthy.

How much should we walk a day? How many steps are there in a walking session? If you are looking at reducing your weight or a prosperous abdomen, then I suggest you take 10,000 steps a day!! Sounds like a lot? This equals 5 miles or 8 kilometres.

Actually it is not so bad at all if you take into account all the footsteps you take in a day, including climbing stairs, walking inside or outside your home, walking to shop, etc.

11 benefits of brisk walking

About 40 years ago, a Japanese researcher Dr Yoshiro Hatano, calculated that the physical activity of walking 10,000 steps a day would burn 20 % of the calories we intake. It took nearly 3 decades before Western countries took note of this simple philosophy of staying healthy.

On an average we take about 3000 steps a day. Increasing it to 10,000 is not so difficult if we do an hour’s walking session daily. If you are enthusiastic about following Hatano’s recommendation, then do the following:

1. Buy a pedometer to measure how many steps you normally take in a day.
2. Increase the number of steps every day. This means you will start to walk more for your  daily activities
3. Once you have reached 3000 steps with routine activities, then, start walking as an exercise program.
4. Drink a glass of water and eat a fruit before you start. Carry a bottle of water with you while you walk.
5. You may do one session of walking 6 kilometres a day which equals one hour of walk or 2 or 3 sessions of 30 or 20 minute walk respectively.
6. Pull in your tummy as much as possible when you take your steps. Let go. Then pull in again. This strengthens the back muscles, and reduces your tummy.

There is a whole bunch of muscles that are involved in the act of walking. As we swing our arms and move our shoulders too while walking, it is a whole body therapy. Thus, the calf muscles, thigh muscles, arms and shoulder muscles, buttocks, hips and of course abdominal muscles get shaped and toned in the whole experience of walking 10,000 steps a day.

The effects of walking or any exercise is cumulative, which means you need to keep at it for months or years and keep doing it to get results.

Parvathy R Krishnan

The author is a trained Nutrition & Dietetics expert with over 20 years’ of experience in hospitals like Vijaya Hospital in Chennai and the Armed Forces Hospital and New Mowasat Hospitals in Kuwait. She is presently a member of the Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India. Parvathy blogs at http://premadiet.blogspot.in/


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