Walk the Walk

Rebecca Roach
Rebecca Roach
· 3 min read
Fit woman walking

No gym membership, no problem. Pushchair bound, no worries. Comfortable footwear, great – let’s get going on foot.

Are you sitting still? Now we will begin

One way to determine your activity level is to count the number of steps that you take in an average day. Modern research says that taking 10,000 steps indicates an active lifestyle, but due to many of us being office based many are failing to take the recommended steps. 

According to Public Health England, as a nation we spend as many as 60% of our working days in a sedentary position. It is increasingly thought that too much sitting can have as much negative effect on the body as smoking. It is thought to double your risk of heart disease if you sit for more than 8 hours, compared with sitting for 4 hours or less. Being sedentary is also linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers.

How do you rate?

Steps/dayActivity Level
Under 5000sedentary
5,000 - 7,499low active
7,500 - 9,999somewhat active
10,000active
12,500 or morehighly active

Source: “How many steps/day are enough? Preliminary pedometer indices for public health” 

Are you getting enough?

In order to know if we are active enough we need to know how many steps we are taking. These days there are many ways to record your steps including pedometers (that start at under £10), smart phone apps, smart and sports watches, and fitness trackers. 

Pedometers tend to just measure steps forward, whilst fitness trackers tend to use accelerometers that monitor movements in all directions, and some also record elevation such as hills and stairs using an altimeter. 

You may also be able to set alerts for when you are not moving enough, which can give you extra motivation. Or if you are the competitive type, you may want to link up with others via your smart phone app or fitness tracker to do a walking challenge.

Using a simple pedometer? Why not set your own challenge, such as walking the equivalent of Leeds to London in 3 months. Just remember to record your steps taken/distance each day.

Get on track

If you find you are constantly missing the recommended 10,000, here are some ideas on how to get more in:

  • Park at the far side of the car park at work and when shopping
  • Get off the bus a stop or more earlier
  • Use public transport instead of cabs
  • Go to the printer every time you print rather than letting it collate
  • Go over and speak to your colleagues rather than email
  • Use stairs rather than lifts
  • Walk around when on the phone
  • Find walking workouts online to do inside if you are not liking the weather
  • Use your lunch break
  • Have walking meetings at work
  • Instead of sitting down with a coffee to catch up with friends, take a stroll together
  • Look to see if your council does free Health Walks
  • Go for family walks
  • Try activities such as tennis or ice skating

One foot in front of the other

Not only are you improving your health by walking, your waist line may also see the benefits. The table below shows how many calories walking can burn (based on a 40-year-old female of average height that weighs 12st 7lbs).

Walking SpeedCalories Burned In
10 Mins20 Mins30 Mins
2 Mph26.4kcal52.7kcal79.1kcal
3 Mph42.7kcal85.4kcal128.1kcal
4 Mph61.4kcal122.7kcal184.1kcal

Walking 10,000 steps (about 5 miles) burns around 400 calories.

Government guidelines recommend 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. To walk at “moderate intensity”, aim for about 4 mph.

You can calculate your walking speed in two ways:

  1. Time how long it takes you to walk a mile (pre-measure it in the car)
  2. Count the number of steps you take in 1 minute, then look up your figure on the chart below and read across to find your walking speed.
Steps/MinuteMinutes/MileMiles/Hour
70302
90242.5
105203
120173.5
140154

*Based on a 2½ foot stride

It takes around 10 minutes to walk 1,000 steps – and even less if you are jogging.

Where to find out more

As part of personal training sessions, I look at what will work for the specific individual and their lifestyle. If you need personalised help, please get in touch for further information on how I can assist at Rebecca@everybod.com or 07984159824. You can find more about me on my UKFP and Facebook profiles and on my website