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Step Up: How to reach 10,000 steps a day

The Bloodwise logo. Bloodwise appears in black text against a white background
Posted by
01 Mar 2018

Step Up challenges our supporters to walk 10,000 steps a day for the whole of April. Here’s an explanation of why we’ve picked that number and some easy ways you can fit them into your daily routine.

A group of men and women walk in a park. We're challenging our supporters to walk 10,000 steps a day for a month and help beat blood cancer

Why 10,000 steps?

It’s generally agreed across the world that 10,000 daily steps represents a decent level of activity. The American Heart Association uses the metric as a guideline to follow for improving general health and combating the risk of heart disease. The figure is two or three times the amount the average Briton walks a day (3,000-4,000 steps according to the NHS).

While the 10k goal is commonly accepted across the world, the origin of the target is less commonly understood. It originated in Japan in a marketing campaign for an early version of the pedometer which launched in the build up to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Pedometers swept through the country as its citizens got Olympic fever.

The health benefits of 10,000 steps a day

10,000 steps adds up to approximately five miles a day for the majority of people. It’s well documented that walking can lower your risk of developing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and can lead to fat loss. The Harvard Gazette reports that moderate levels of exercise cuts the risk of strokes, heart disease and colon cancer in both men and women.

How to track your steps

If you’re wearing a Fitbit, it will automatically keep track of your steps and, depending on your settings, will vibrate or beep when you reach your target.

For those without a Fitbit, there’s a range of cost effective smartphone apps available. Google Fit is a free app which tracks your steps using GPS and displays your progress throughout the day. iHealth is another option and also helps you track other vital indicators of wellbeing.

Five ways to boost your steps

If you’re struggling to reach your 10,000 target, here are a few simple suggestions. It’s a good idea to check your total a few times during the day – if you’re under, work one of these activities in to the rest of your day.

  • Park your car or bike a mile away from your destination and walk the mile there and back
  • If you live or work in a multi-storey building, walk up stairs instead of the lift
  • If you commute via a train station, walk up the escalator or stairs rather than standing
  • If you have a meeting scheduled that could easily be held on the move, suggest a walking meeting. Activity is good for the brain and may stimulate your creativity
  • ​Take any phone calls you have during the day while going for a stroll around the block

For more information, read the NHS advice on getting started with walking.

Sign up to our Step Up challenge to give blood cancer the boot.

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