Many years ago, the American Heart Association deemed April “Move More Month” to encourage people to walk at least 10,000 steps per day for better heart health and overall well-being.
At Plessen Healthcare we have challenged our team to move more! Nurse Practitioner, Jan Powell, has led the charge by organizing weekly after-work walk sessions and walking/running tips with the goal of a staff 5k walk/run on June 5th.
This April, we want to encourage our patients and community to get out and move more for better health!
The History of Manpo-Kei (10,000 Steps)
As the Japanese were preparing to host the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, there was an increased excitement around being physically fit. The result was an increasing awareness that movement and physical activity was an effective way to lessen or prevent lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and strokes. And the easiest way to keep moving was through walking. Bonus: it was free and didn’t require any equipment or special training. Manpo-Kei became the slogan of the walking movement and literally translates to 10,000 steps. This was a reasonable goal, 10,000 steps per day, to achieve better health. In 1985, studies that were done on the health of the Japanese who participated in the Manpo-Kei movement and the health benefits they realized became accepted science. It was confirmed that walking an average of 10,000 steps per day benefits heart and overall health.
Walking 10,000 steps translates to approximately 5 miles per day. Where the average person walks a mile in 15-20 minutes at a moderate pace, 5 miles equates to about an hour and 40 minutes per day of active walking. You do not have to walk the full 5-miles in one outing. Consider breaking it up into 2-3 shorter walks. Get up from your desk and move more throughout the day. Choose to park farther away at work. Get creative and move more!
If you haven’t been moving or walking regularly, it’s important as with any new exercise program, to begin slowly and consult your healthcare provider if you have any underlying health conditions or health risks. Start with smaller, achievable goals and build as you go.
Just one of the many benefits of living on St Croix in the US Virgin Islands is the wonderful weather that we have year-round. A benefit that encourages spending time outside and being active. Find a place where you enjoy the scenery, grab a friend or a family member and get active!
Tips to Improve Your Step Count and Move More
- Get A Walking Buddy or join a Walking Group – having a partner to keep you accountable is a great way to stick to your goals. Chatting with a friend makes the time and distance feel achievable.
- Walk Your Dog – Our canine family members benefit health-wise from walking and staying active too. Opt for walking during the cooler hours of the day to prevent burning their paws on the hot pavement or sand. And bring plenty of water to keep them hydrated as well.
- Pop in Your Earbuds – Put on your favorite music playlist or listen to an engaging podcast. Keeping your mind active can help to pass the time. You’ll be done before you know it!
- Park at the back of the lot – During the course of the day, look for ways to increase your step count by parking farther from your destination or taking extra flights of stairs when you can.
- Take a Work Break – Studies have shown that taking regular breaks during the day can help to improve productivity. Aim to take a 15-minute break every 75-90 minutes. It’s a great opportunity to stretch or take a mini walk to physically reset your body. Moving more during the day can help to keep your joints more limber and prevent arthritis.
- Go for a Hike – Going up and down hills increases your heart rate and provides an excellent cardio workout. Enjoying the beautiful natural surroundings here in the islands also has psychological benefits that can be relaxing and enhance your overall sense of well-being.
- Walk the Beach – Our beautiful island is surrounded by beaches that offer excellent opportunities for walking. Walking in the less stable sand makes your muscles work harder with each step. Beach walking is a great stress reliever and burns more calories because it requires more effort. Bonus, you can cool off with a swim after your walk!
Other Ways to Move More for Better Health
Of course, walking isn’t the only way to keep moving and improve your health. Choose an activity that you truly enjoy and you will be more likely to stick with it.
Here are just a few ideas:
- Grab your fins and go for an ocean swim
- Go paddleboarding
- Learn Tai Chi
- Join a Yoga Class
- Play Tennis
Start Them Young
Moving more together is a great opportunity for family bonding time. Get the kids off the couch and off their devices and go outside for regular walks or bike rides together. Try out a short exercise routine to incorporate jumping jacks, squats, lunges, some gentle stretching, or even yoga. See who can hold a plank position the longest or do the most leg lifts. Most of all, have fun!
Remember to Stay Hydrated
Especially here in the islands, it is important to stay hydrated. You should aim to drink approximately half an ounce of water for each pound you weigh, every day. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, that would be 75 ounces of water a day which is about half a gallon or a little more than 2 liters. If you work up a sweat, you may want to drink a bit more to replace fluid lost from perspiration. Working out during the cooler hours in the early morning or around sunset can help to reduce sweating and fluid loss. During the hot summer months, you may choose to walk a treadmill in the air-conditioned gym or opt for a swim.
Being more physically active in our daily lives, even in small ways, can improve our overall health and well-being and prevent many long-term health issues.
If you are concerned about your health or have questions about starting a new fitness regime, reach out to us at Plessen Healthcare. Call 340-715-7720 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appointment.