In my daily work with people working towards better health and weight management, a common theme emerges. Despite dedicated exercise and a focus on nutritious foods, many still face low energy, joint or low back pain and challenges in achieving their weight goals.
Often times the missing link is - Daily movement!
Daily movement is an often overlooked aspect to overall health! Some people dismiss its importance feeling like it's too simple. Others can't see how walking around a bit could possibly help alleviate pain. And some question how it could possibly help with weight loss when it doesn't even make us sweaty!
While daily movement is the target, steps are a measurable way to ensure daily movement. This article explores why steps matter, their impact on your goals, and offers practical strategies to integrate more movement into your daily life.
The Roll of Daily Steps on Overall Health: Studies conducted by The National Institute of Health (NIH), reveal a strong correlation between daily steps and enhanced overall health. Regular movement has been linked to improved cardiovascular health, better insulin sensitivity, and a reduced risk of chronic diseases. A study published in the "Journal of Physical Activity and Health" found that individuals who consistently achieved 7,000 to 10,000 steps daily exhibited lower markers of inflammation and improved metabolic health.
Why This Matters to You: Beyond the scientific jargon, daily steps mean feeling better in your own skin. Lower inflammation can ease joint pain, while improved metabolic health brings sustained energy and efficiency to your day. Your day could include - less stiffness, having the energy to tackle tasks effortlessly, and enjoying an overall sense of well-being. Prioritizing daily steps isn't just about health statistics; it's an investment in a life where you move, feel, and live better.
Steps as Catalysts for Fat Loss: Scientific evidence supports the idea that daily steps play an important role in fat loss. Research published in the "International Journal of Obesity" highlights that individuals who meet or exceed the recommended daily step count experience more significant weight loss and fat reduction compared to those with a sedentary lifestyle, even if they engage in regular structured workouts. The study also emphasizes the importance of non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), which we'll discuss in another article.
But in case you skimmed and missed it the first time let me reiterate - Getting 7000+ steps each day will significantly help you with fat reduction EVEN if you get in a daily workout.
Addressing the Impact of Prolonged Sitting: Studies published in the "American Journal of Preventive Medicine" and "Diabetes Care" highlight the adverse effects of prolonged sitting, which include an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal issues such as back pain, and impaired circulation.
However, incorporating short bouts of walking throughout the day can address these issues. The research indicates that individuals who take regular breaks for light activity, like walking, experience improved glucose metabolism and lower insulin levels, consequently lowering the risk of metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes and obesity.
How Much Daily Movement is Optimal? Guidelines from the American Heart Association, recommend aiming for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week, which can be achieved through daily steps. Studies also show that achieving 7,000 to 10,000 steps per day aligns with these recommendations and provides substantial health benefits, including improved cardiovascular fitness and better weight management.
Daily Movement v.s. Longer Weekend Adventures:
I often hear, "I can't get 5000+ steps in during the week, but I make up for it with long hikes on the weekends, isn't that basically the same thing?"
My response is usually... GREAT! Glad you're finding ways to get outside and move! But... consistency in daily movement offers several unique benefits that intermittent intense exercise might not provide.
Daily movement helps:
Metabolic Health: Regular activity throughout the day helps maintain a more consistent metabolic rate, aiding in better blood sugar regulation and improved insulin sensitivity.
Joint and Muscle Health: Daily movement prevents stiffness and promotes joint flexibility, reducing the risk of musculoskeletal issues that can arise from prolonged periods of inactivity.
Mood and Energy Levels: Continuous movement releases endorphins, contributing to improved mood and sustained energy levels. This can positively impact overall well-being on a daily basis.
Weight Management: Daily activity contributes to a more balanced energy expenditure, making it easier to manage weight over the long term. It helps create a sustainable calorie deficit without relying solely on sporadic, intense workouts.
Cardiovascular Health: Regular, moderate-intensity movement supports cardiovascular health by enhancing blood circulation and reducing the risk of heart-related issues.
Consistent Caloric Burn: Daily movement ensures a steady caloric burn, aiding in weight maintenance and reducing the likelihood of weight gain associated with sedentary periods.
Improved Sleep Quality: Establishing a routine of daily movement can positively impact sleep patterns, leading to better sleep quality and overall well-rested feelings.
While occasional intense activity has its benefits, daily movement provides a more holistic approach to health by incorporating consistent benefits for metabolism, joints, mood, weight management, cardiovascular health, and more. It's about creating a lifestyle that supports well-being on a day-to-day basis rather than relying solely on infrequent, intense bursts of exercise.
Daily steps are not just a generic call to move more but a scientifically-backed prescription for better health and effective fat loss. Studies consistently highlight the positive impact of incorporating steps into our daily routines. By understanding and applying these insights, we can empower ourselves to take intentional steps towards a healthier and more active lifestyle.
Do you get 7000+ steps a day? Are there specific things you do to ensure it happens? Drop a comment below and let us know your strategies! Let's help each other improve our daily movement!