Making 10k Steps A Day Happen On Your Treadmill

We have all heard the conventional wisdom about getting 10,000 steps per day of walking to maintain a healthy body inside and out. Ideally, we would all be going far above that, but in a world of sedentary desk jobs and long commutes, it just isn’t always easy. For some of us, such as busy moms, it may even seem impossible.

The truth is that 10,000 steps is a rough estimate that studies have shown to be the average of active individuals. Low active is 7500+, and highly active is 12,000+. But though it is a rough estimate, it is still a great ballpark to help you reach your goals and a good way to make sure you are getting the exercise you need.

Does that mean it has to be done outside? No, it doesn’t.

Treadmills and Your Daily Steps

In the past, most pedometers didn’t count treadmill steps on the device, as it required forward movement for the metrics inside the device to track the movement. New devices are fortunately much better about this, using a more delicate internal mechanism that tracks steps even when they are done in one spot.

There are also many programs, such as the health apps on smartphones or fitness watches, that allow you to select treadmill workouts. It then calculates steps based on your average stride and heart rate, giving you a fairly accurate estimation of the steps involved in your workouts. Some treadmills even have a step feature.

This doesn’t just work on treadmills. Many people have started using programs like “Walk Away The Pounds”, walking in place in their homes. These steps count, though with somewhat less efficiency than if you were moving forward.

Getting More From Your Walking

You don’t have to worry about getting less from you walking when it is on a treadmill, even if they don’t tend to burn as much as if you were walking on a street. The trick is to increase your heartrate, and there are several ways to do that.

First, you can try increasing your speed. Power-walking (or walking at a brisk pace) has been found to have many health benefits, and to burn more calories than walking at a slower pace. So don’t be afraid to pump up the speed to really give yourself a good workout.

Second, you can try HIIT. This is a great way to build endurance and get the heart healthiest workout available. Start by walking for three minutes, then running or brisk walking for one, repeating the pattern until the end of your workout. Not only is this great for your health, but it is an easy way to increase your steps in less time.

Third, you can ramp up your incline. An incline of 40% (found in NordicTrack’s incline trainers) can increase your calorie burn by an astonishing five times the average. The higher the incline the higher that burn differential. That means you could be making your workouts five times or more effective every time you get on. It may not increase the speed of your steps, but it gives you a lot more for the time you put in.

Finding The Right Treadmill For You

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a treadmill. There are so many options, price ranges and features these days that you could customize it to fit your needs exactly without much trouble. Here is where to start:

  • Check Reviews – There is no better way to know how good a treadmill is than by the people who have bought it before you. Customers tend to be very vocal, whether that is in the positive or the negative. Look for treadmills that have been highly reviewed, and by a fair number of people. That will give you a good idea of how well it was received. You may also want to check for reviews from people who have had the treadmill for more than six months.
  • Look Over Feature Options – There are many features offered with modern treadmills. As mentioned before, some have pedometers built in, tracking each step as your foot strikes the belt. Others have heart rate monitors, either on the handles or comes with a chest strap, that can tell you how many calories you are burning, and/or help you remain in a target zone to improve your results based on your needs (cardio, fat burning, ect). Many will have smartphone app connections, built in internet capable screens, and other technological advances that make it better than what you would find in any gym. Then there are speed settings, storage options, incline rates and more.
  • Compare Prices – There is no singular price model for a treadmill. They run the gamut, from manuals that cost as little as $50, to high-end technologically advanced models that cost up to $10,000. You can find anything in between, often within your needed budget. Many sellers also provide payment plans and financing, so you can find the treadmill of your dreams.

Tips For Sneaking Those Steps In, Whatever Your Schedule

Now that you know the benefits of a treadmill, and how to get one, let’s look at how you can find the time to use it. We all have been guilty of turning that exercise equipment we swear we are going to use into clothing hangers and dust collectors. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The busiest person can find time to get in their 10,000 daily steps. Here are some ways to be creative about it!

  • Break it into chunks – Let’s say you take the dog out for a walk in the morning, walk around the office building on each break, get on the treadmill after dinner for half an hour, then take the dog out at night. That breaks your walking into manageable chunks that will get you to 10k in no time.
  • Combine it with other tasks – That book you have been wanting to read? Why not get the audio book and listen to it while you walk. Or make those phone calls you have to get through. Or make a grocery list, plan a party, or listen to a recorded lecture for that midterm.
  • Just do it! – You are busy, but you also need to take care of yourself. Everyone should have a little me-time each day. Failing to do so can increase stress, impact sleep, cause depression, and even spark health problems. Give yourself some time to walk.