How to Get 10,000 Steps

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When it comes to exercise, I try to make my day as inefficient as possible. I know this sounds crazy - especially since my book is about doing more with less - but hear me out. By reducing my productivity (walking to a coffee shop instead of making coffee at home, pacing indoors while on the phone, choosing stairs), I was able to build more organic movement and reach at least 10,000 steps in a day.

I did it despite regular exercise. Why? Because my health and yours depend on it: In 2016, the American Heart Association issued a study-based advisory warning that even vigorous exercise doesn't seem to undo the damage from sitting — namely increased heart disease and risk of diabetes.

There is also evidence that how active you are throughout the day affects your weight. According to research by James A. Levine, MD, obese people sit two and a half hours longer than lean people, and lean people stand and walk more than two hours longer than obese people. Professor of Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona.

That's why I challenge myself, my clients, and now all of you, to take at least 10,000 steps a day. This number may seem random, but 10,000 steps is roughly equivalent to 5 miles of which (including 30 minutes of moderate intensity) meets the CDC guidelines for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week.

May also feel high. If you're like an average American, you're only about half the distance on foot right now. But that's okay. It just means you have to make a conscious effort to get more exercise throughout the day.

How to Slip into Your Day
The key is to make your steps a byproduct of your lifestyle, not a goal outside of your daily activities. Here are some of my suggestions that could allow me to make small changes and increase my mileage.

1. Ditch the coffee maker at home and walk to your morning coffee.
2. If you drive to work, please park a little further from the entrance. If you take public transportation, get off the train or subway one stop earlier and walk an extra block.
3. Take a walk after lunch, even if it's just around the block. Not only will this extra 400 to 500 steps significantly increase your daily goals, it will also help you get some vitamin D, which has been shown to increase serotonin, stave off seasonal affective disorder, and even help lower blood pressure.
4. If you have access to a treadmill or a fitness club, watch your favorite show or sporting event while you walk. Even if you end up driving at a slower pace, the importance of achieving a sustainable speed should come first.
5. Don't use weekends as an excuse to be lazy. Without completely deviating from the plan, try to consciously incorporate more steps into your day. Having lunch with friends? Don't drive, walk to your meeting place.

Keep the momentum going.
Remember, you have to walk at least 10,000 steps. To avoid complacency, I recommend gradually increasing your goal of 500 steps per day every other week until you reach 14,000 steps per day. Here's how to change the number of steps in your application.

Opting for phone reminders can also help. When the feature is turned on, you can customize which time of day you're aiming to take 250 steps -- or about two to three minutes of walking, which has been shown to help counteract the negative effects of prolonged sitting. If you don't reach your goal, your device will beep 10 minutes before the hour.

No time to move? Try one of these 13 ways to secretly get fit during the day. Or pick up my book 5 Pounds: A Breakthrough 5-Day Plan to Start Losing Weight Fast (and Never Get Back!) for more ideas.

Next, find out three ways sleep deprivation can make you fat, and five ways to get more sleep. This is the fourth part of my five-year plan.