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How many steps do you take each day?

How many steps do you take a day?

How many steps do you take each day? If you’re anything like me, the answer might surprise you. In 2001, Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher called upon Americans to add “30 minutes of moderate intensity activity each day ON TOP of your customary daily activities.” In so many calculations, this means we should all shoot to get 10,000 steps each day – the equivalent of 5 miles – whether by running, walking, or equivalent via some other form of activity.

I’ve been frustrated with my general level of activity outside of running since leaving my desk job a couple years ago. Despite being stuck in a chair behind my computer, I had to walk a quarter mile to and from my vehicle a couple times a day, as well as run to multiple meetings across campus (I worked at a university) and within my own large building (library). At lunch, I’d often grab something quick to eat and walk “the loop” a couple times to get some mid-afternoon endorphins going.

I’d say on an average day, I’d get at least 4 to 5 miles of walking in with these activities. Then I’d run 25-35 miles a week and call myself fairly active. Oh, how lifestyles change! Now that I work from home, if I don’t leave the house, I barely walk … at all. So, I recently purchased one of those fancy wrist pedometers (Fitbit Flex) to track my steps to see if I could get myself moving again.

The first day just happened to be a scheduled long run workout, so I clocked almost 20,000 steps with an 11-miler. When I got down to a more normal routine the following day, I was feeling quite cocky. However, I became extremely frustrated when I didn’t feel the familiar vibration on my wrist in the evening to tell me I’d met my 10,000 goal. The count? 7,423! I knew I hadn’t done any dedicated exercise since I was in rest mode from my run the day before – but surely I could naturally get in the base 10K otherwise, right?

Wrong.

What I’ve found is that getting to the 10K mark, even on days when I’m running, is difficult for me. For you, it might be a walk in the park, quite literally. But what it’s has made me really think about is how our lifestyles outside of our sport make a difference for our overall health. I’m now aiming to be a more rounded active person outside of running, and wearing a pedometer has helped me gauge my levels and adjust (take a walk, run, etc.) if I’ve been particularly sedentary.

Furthermore, I’ve also come across recommendations for walking more like 12,000 to 15,000 steps each day, especially if you’re interested in weight loss. My new goal is to hit in this higher range since running added into these counts can really skew results (I’d rather not sit literally all day and then make up for it with a single run). Sure, I may not meet my goal each day, but if I’m lagging – I feel motivated to get my body moving and take that hour-long walk versus sitting on the couch.

Do you track your steps? Tell us about it!

Written by  Ashley Marcin.