Just a few weeks ago, a new study surfaced with supporting evidence that daily activity (measured via step count) has a significant impact on our health.
The study, carried out by Vanderbilt University, provided the following summary.
“Using a wearable activity tracker to count and increase the number and intensity of steps taken daily can reduce the risk of several common, chronic diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and sleep apnea.”
The study concluded that it took around 8,200 steps per day (around 4 miles) to see significant reductions in the above diseases.
In addition, the data suggested that overweight individuals can reduce their chances of becoming obese by 64% by increasing their step count from 6,000 to 11,000 per day.
I’m thrilled to see this sort of evidence come out and know more of it is being studied.
One reason is that it helps us overcome our confirmation bias around walking and counting our steps (Tracking steps?! What a bore).
Confirmation bias is a cognitive bias that favors information that confirms your previously existing beliefs or biases.
One way to think of it is, if we don’t currently give much power to walking being an important part of living a healthy lifestyle, then we’ll be more likely to continue to believe that as true until we challenge that belief.
The point is, that, when objective evidence comes out, regardless of what our currently held beliefs are, we tend to give more merit to the reality of a matter – thanks, science!
This doesn’t mean that steps are now special or have more power than we thought, although our bodies are designed *precisely* to walk and to do it often and for long periods of time, every day.
Walking has always been powerful.
It means that you now have evidence for yourself that supports the idea that walking does hold significant power in your overall health.
And so I share this study with you to give you an extra reason to get up off your favorite, or not-so-favorite, chair and walk.
Feel the sun on your skin.
Breathe fresh air.
Take a break.
Here are some of my most effective recommendations to help you get your step count up to and past this new standard of 8,200/day.
1. Take a 10-15 minute walk after every meal. Not only does this get you moving, but it actually assists in the digestion of your food and reduces the blood sugar response. Rather than your food sitting idly and your digestive tract doing all the work itself, we can walk to create natural pressures that assist the digestive process. Also, walking increases our body’s insulin sensitivity, making it easier to manage the sugar in our blood. Say goodbye to the post-meal crash! (I just felt the amazing results of this last night).
2. Schedule at least one deliberate walk per day. You schedule that Zoom meeting. You schedule your workout. You schedule dinner… Schedule a distraction and carefree walk through the neighborhood or in the parking lot outside of work. You’ll return with a freshness you can’t explain.
3. Take phone calls and meetings on the go. This is a game-changer if you can make it work and you have those sorts of occurrences at work. Another benefit is the mental clarity and creative thinking that comes with walking, which can stimulate different thinking and lead to elevated conversation.
4. Find an accountability partner. There are few things that can keep us more accountable than other people, especially those that want the same thing as we do. If you and your partner, friend, or neighbor have the same goal to walk or hit a step count, hold each other accountable and work together. One day, you feel great and motivated, and they need a little kick in the ass to get after it. The next day, the roles reverse. Work off each other.
“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
To walking more,