The vast majority of Americans live a sedentary lifestyle, whether or not we like to admit it. It's no wonder so many people suffer from heart disease, various cancers, type 2 diabetes, and stroke.
It's also necessary to point out that working out often doesn't rescue you from a sedentary lifestyle. In fact, you could work out intensely for an hour a day, six days a week and still have a sedentary lifestyle. Anyone who spends the majority of their time sitting, whether it's at a desk, commuting, being on the couch, etc., is sedentary, even if you work out every single day.
I've been a fitness and weight-loss coach for almost a decade, and all of my clients come to me with the goal of being more active and improving their overall health. That's why the very first thing I suggest is to achieve 10,000 steps a day.
Your New Daily Goal Should Be 10,000 Steps a Day
In order to avoid a sedentary lifestyle in which you're just sitting around all day, aim to get 10,000 steps. The best way to measure this is by getting a fitness tracker like a watch or a ring (I have been using an Oura ring for the last couple years and love it). If you get a fitness tracker and just live your life normally you might be surprised at how few steps you get, especially if you're a desk worker and you have a long commute.
The modern American lifestyle doesn't leave much room for activity.
Unfortunately, the modern American lifestyle doesn't leave much room for activity. Rather there is a great emphasis on consuming media and vegging out in the name of self-care. But the great news is, every day is an opportunity to take control of your health and your life. Aiming for 10,000 steps is the perfect first step to improving your health. Although 10,000 steps may sound like a lot, there are some very simple ways for you to achieve that without completely disrupting your life.
Go for a Walk Every Day
Walking is seriously underrated. It's a form of cardio, especially if you gradually increase your speed as time goes on. If you're going to hit 10,000 steps a day, you must go for a daily walk – even better if you can go for more than one walk a day. A walk doesn't have to be a long 45-minute process. It can be a 10-minute stroll around your neighborhood. It can be one lap around a park.
Aiming for 10,000 steps is the perfect first step to improving your health.
When you have a specific goal of 10,000 steps a day, you'll likely have to get up a little earlier in the morning to go for a walk before breakfast or go to work a little earlier so you can take a longer lunch and fit in a 20-minute walk before you eat. Sure, you can run or jog if you enjoy that form of cardio, but going for a walk is just fine, which is good news for someone who is brand new to fitness.
Many Other Activities Contribute to 10,000 Steps
I've had many days where I reached 10,000 steps just by running errands, shopping, cooking, cleaning, etc. If you have kids, chances are you will fit in a solid amount of steps by simply playing with them. Take them to a park and run around with them a little bit. Pick a new recipe to cook and get comfortable in the kitchen. Do a deep clean of your closet. All of these activities contribute beautifully to your 10,000 step goal.
There are many ways to be active in your everyday life and avoid being sedentary.
There's a misconception that you have to do gym or fitness activities in order to exercise, but that's simply not true. There are many ways to be active in your everyday life and avoid being sedentary – get creative and enlist the participation of friends and family!
If 10,000 steps is impossible for you, you can start small. Just begin with 5,000 steps daily and then work up from there. The most important thing is that you're making changes in your lifestyle day by day. These changes may seem insignificant at first, but they're actually laying the groundwork for huge changes in the future.