After One Day
If you don’t normally consider yourself an active person, Darria Long—an ER physician, clinical professor at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, and author of the national best-selling book Mom Hacks—says that walking 10,000 steps after one day “will help you fall asleep a lot faster than you normally would that evening. You may even notice that [your muscles are] a little bit sore when you wake up the next morning.”While you may want to jump the gun and hit your daily goal on the first day, John M. Giurini, DPM, chief of the Division of Podiatric. Surgery at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, recommends gradually leaning into this new activity and wearing proper running- or jogging-style shoes to provide better support for your feet.
After One Week
“When you increase your physical activity for a week, it creates a cascade of beneficial hormones that not only help you lose weight,but also send blood flow to your brain and major organs,” says Long. Basically, the combination of being more active and sleeping better will improve your memory and make you feel more alert and focused. However, this also depends on the time of day you decide to take a walk. Long says that if you do it during the afternoon, you may find yourself having more energy during your normal 2 p.m. slump.
After One Month
At this point in time, walking 10,000 steps will start to become a habit—and it can lead to other healthy habits. “We know from many studies, people who start walking—even when you don’t talk to them about diet or smoking—will naturally begin to reduce their volume of cigarettes if they’re smokers and will generally eat less saturated fats and consume more produce,” says Long. “They may also lose a little bit of weight.”Just be mindful of how much activity you’re getting. Giurini explains that “you should include breaks throughout the day to prevent getting stress fractures or tendinitis in your legs or feet.”
After Six Months
Expect all the health benefits to really kick in during this six-month mark. When you start walking almost every single day, your blood pressure can drop, your cholesterol lowers, and your blood sugar becomes more regulated, since exercising increases your sensitivity to insulin, according to Long. “Plus, in many cases, we’ve also seen people cut back on their medications because their health has improved,” Long adds. All you have to do is move your body more to live a healthier life—it’s that easy.
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