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How Can 4,000 Steps Be Better For Your Health Than 10,000!?


Better Than 10,000 Steps!?

There is a lot of buzz around “getting in your 10,000 steps” these days, which is a good thing.  Movement is good for us humans,  AND I believe that you will get more Bang for Your Buck if go for 2-3 x 10-minute Brisk Walks every day.

Why Are 10-Minute Walks Better than Just Getting the 10,000 Steps In?

  • They focus your attention on keeping the Pep in Your Step so you get your heart rate into Heart Rate Zone 2 which is 60-70% of your Heart Rate Max. This improves your general endurance where your body will get better at burning fat, and your muscular fitness will increase.
  • They’re known to improve digestion and decrease gas.
  • Quick 10-minute walks aid in recovery as they improve blood flow to the entire body without taking 90 minutes to complete (It takes me about 90 minutes to walk 10,000 steps).
  • A 10-minute brisk walk is Just So Darn Easy to Do…enjoy your meal…walk at a good clip for 10 minutes…enjoy the euphoric feeling of moving your body…continue with your day.
  • Even though the walk is short, because it is brisk, it is purported to improve insulin sensitivity.
    • My adorable wife and I have tested post-meal glucose and the effects of a brisk 10-minute walking using a CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) and experienced a quick drop in glucose due to the walk. For now, here’s a semi-nude photo of us sporting our CGMs.  The hairy beast on the right is me. 
Don't try this at home^^

Other Benefits of 10-Minute Walks

  • You can get out of the house and breathe some fresh air.
  • It gives you opportunities to meet new people or see people in your neighborhood. In Japan, strangers don’t normally greet each other, but I do just for fun, which occasionally makes people smile. 
  • It’s a great way to get in some active recovery between deep focused sessions of work.
    • Make sure that if you use this as an active recovery between intense creative work, you don’t use your smartphone to look or listen to anything while you walk.  Give your brain a rest and just enjoy the experience of walking.
  • It’s a nice segue between enjoying a meal and continuing on to the next event in your day

A Few Tweaks I Use:

Nasal Breathing

When walking alone, I always breathe through my nose. I found this out by chance when I used to run.  I had a tendency to run too hard and overexert myself.  I looked for a solution to this problem and found that if I only breathed through my nose, it regulated my speed so that I could find a solid pace.  Now I use nasal breathing when I walk, skip rope or ride a stationary bike. As I get to the upper end of my capacity to breathe through my nose, I know I am nearing the top of my Zone 2 Training (about 70% of my maximum heart rate).  

Using a Wearable to Track Your Speed and Heart Rate

I experimented with the Oura Ring to learn how to track my recovery and sleep quality.  I used it on my 10-minute walks to track my speed and heart rate.  Zone 2 for me is between 102-118 BPM, so you can see that I was right at the bottom of Zone 2 at an average of 105 BPM.  And my pace was 10:56/km.  This isn’t really necessary, but it can be fun for some people.  If you have an Apple Watch or Fitbit, you can probably track these data as well.  

Deep Air Squats

If you are short on time, or if the weather isn’t ideal to do your walk, do 25-50 or more air squats as deeply as you can with good form instead. Use the biggest muscles in your body to get your blood flowing and absorb some of the glucose from your meal.  Here is a video explanation of a body weight squat aiming for a knee bend of about 90 degrees.  Use this if you are a beginner.  If you are ready for a full ROM (Range of Motion) body weight squat, please watch this video.  You may need something to prop up your heels a bit.  If you are wearing running shoes, the heels may be elevated enough to perform this without a prop. 

Starting Small

If this seems a bit overwhelming to you, just start really small.  Do a 10-minute walk after your dinner every evening and see how you feel in 7-14 days.  Most people generally eat their largest meal of the day at night, so doing this walk after dinner will probably give most people the greatest benefits.  If you have a partner, a child a dog or just a friend that lives nearby, invite them out for a walk with you.  Share the joy!  

I’d like to thank Stan Efferding for introducing us to this wonderful habit.  Here is a link to his website.  Here is a link to the Oura Ring.  

If you have any questions, please leave a comment. 

If what I shared here resonates with you and you’d like to go deeper on how to incorporate more exercise into your busy lifestyle, or how to radically transform your life, diet, mindset, or training, I’m offering a free 30-minute zoom call.  If that’s you, book a call HERE.  

Keep moving forward,