The Power of Taking 10,000 Steps (Or More!) And How to Get There

I do this despite getting regular “exercise.” Why? Because my health depends on it and so does yours: In 2016 the American Heart Association published a research-based advisorywarning that even vigorous exercise doesn’t seem to erase the damage that multiple hours of sitting does—namely increasing your risk of heart disease and diabetes.

There’s also evidence that how active you are over the course of a day can impact your weight. On average obese people sit for two and a half hours more each day than lean people and lean people stand and walk an average of more than two additional hours a day than obese people, according to research by James A. Levine, MD, PhD, a professor of medicine at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona.

That’s why I challenge myself, my clients, and now all of you to get at least 10,000 steps a day. That number may seem arbitrary, but 10,000 steps roughly equates to 5 miles, which (when it includes 30 minutes at a moderate intensity) satisfies CDC guidelines of at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week.

It may also feel high. If you’re like the average American, you’re currently only walking about half as much. But that’s ok. It just means you’re going to have to consciously build more movement into your day.

How to Sneak More Steps Into Your Day

The key is to make your step count a byproduct of your lifestyle rather than a goal outside of your day-to-day activity. Here are some of my recommendations for making small changes that add up to major mileage.

1. Nix the at-home coffee machine and walk to get your morning coffee instead.
2. If you drive into work, park your car a little further away from the entrance. If you take public transportation, get off the bus or subway one stop earlier and walk the extra block.
3. Go on a post-lunch walk, even if it’s just around the block. Not only will those extra 400 to 500 steps add a hefty amount towards your daily goal, they’ll also help you catch some vitamin D, which has been shown to increase serotonin, stave off seasonal affective disorder, and even help lower blood pressure.
4. If you have access to a treadmill or health club, watch your favorite show or sporting event as you walk. Even if you end up going at a slower speed, put the importance of achieving a maintainable pace at the forefront.
5. Don’t use weekends as an excuse to laze around. Work to consciously incorporate more steps into your day without having to completely deviate from your plans. Meeting friends for lunch?  Rather than driving, walk to your meet-up spot.

Keep the Momentum Going

Keep in mind, taking 10,000 steps  is the least you should do. To avoid getting complacent, I recommend gradually increasing your daily step goal by about 500 steps every other week until you’re achieving around 14,000 steps a day. Here’s how to change your step goal in the app.

Opting into Reminders to Move can also help. When turning on this function you can customize which hours of the day you want to aim to get 250 steps—or roughly two to three minutes of walking, which has been shown to help offset the negative effects of sitting. Your device will buzz 10 minutes before the hour if you have yet to hit your goal.

Absolutely no time to move? Try one of these 13 ways to sneak fitness into your day. Or pick up my book, 5 Pounds: The Breakthrough 5-Day Plan to Jump-Start Rapid Weight Loss (And Never Gain it Back!, for more ideas.

Next, discover Three Ways Sleep Deprivation Makes You Fat—Plus 5 Ways to Get More Shuteye.  It’s the fourth part of the My 5 Plan.


Stroke patients can improve their walking ability by doing arm exercises!

By: Mohan Garikiparithi | Health News 

Researchers worked with volunteers who had suffered strokes seven to 17 months prior to the study. They taught them moderate intensity arm cycling exercises, which they did three times a week for 30 minutes over a period of five weeks.

To assess the effect of the exercises, researchers tested the walking abilities, electrical activity, and stretch reflexes in the lower leg and wrist muscles. This was done before the training sessions began, during the study, and after the five weeks.

Walking tests included the following:

  • A six-minute walk where distance covered was measured.
  • A timed 10-meter walk to measure speed.
  • Another test called Timed Up and Go measured the time taken for a seated person to stand up, walk 10 feet, return, and sit again.

Researchers observed that arm exercises helped the volunteers improve their performance in all the walking tests. However, the most improvement (up to 28 percent) was seen in their performance in the Timed Up and Go test. According to researchers, arm cycling training helped to activate the nerve networks that connected their limbs, allowing for better coordination. When the arm nerves were activated and adapted, the spinal cord function improved, which improved the functioning of the legs.

Muscle tests revealed that there were no major changes in the grip strength of participants. However, their muscles were more relaxed after they completed the arm exercises.

The experiment proved that arm exercises could be included in stroke rehabilitation to improve post-stroke leg function.

Other exercises to improve walking after stroke

Experts recommend several stroke recovery exercises that can help to improve gait (the manner of walking). These include foot exercises, leg exercises, and balance and core work.

Foot exercises can help improve the ability of stroke survivors to walk. They’d be better able to strike the ground with their heels, follow through, and use the toes to push the foot off the ground. Sample exercises that can improve these functions include heel raises, assisted toe raises, and ankle dorsiflexion with the help of the unaffected hand. Each of these should be repeated 10 times.

Leg exercises are essential to improve leg movement. They include knee extensions and seated marching, where the patient is advised to raise the affected leg to the chest and place it back while being seated. To make them more challenging, patients can pause for a second or two when the leg is above the floor.

Core training includes toe taps and knee-to-chest exercises that are done in a lying-down position. These exercises help to strengthen and engage the core muscles while walking to improve gait.

Flamingo stands (standing on one leg for 30 seconds and repeating with the other leg) and side leg raises (about 45 degrees to each side) help to improve balance.

Leg exercises, core training, and balancing exercises require 20 repetitions (10 for each leg) to be effective.

Stroke recovery is a long process that involves stroke rehabilitation through exercises to improve walking. Toe exercises, leg exercises, core training, and balancing exercises help to strengthen the muscles and improve their movement. These are typical stroke recovery exercises as they help to improve gait. However, due to lack of coordination and damage to nerves, complete recovery in walking ability is not possible unless the nerve connections that help to coordinate the movements function better. The latest research proves that this can be achieved through moderate intensity arm cycling exercises.


Walking can help improve stroke recovery

Computational walking model could help stroke patients achieve optimal recovery

by News Medical Life Sciences

After a stroke, patients typically have trouble walking and few are able to regain the gait they had before suffering a stroke. Researchers funded by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) have developed a computational walking model that could help guide patients to their best possible recovery after a stroke. Computational modeling uses computers to simulate and study the behavior of complex systems using mathematics, physics, and computer science. In this case, researchers are developing a computational modeling program that can construct a model of the patient from the patient’s walking data collected on a treadmill and then predict how the patient will walk after different planned rehabilitation treatments. They hope that one day the model will be able to predict the best gait a patient can achieve after completing rehabilitation, as well as recommend the best rehabilitation approach to help the patient achieve an optimal recovery.

Currently, there is no way for a clinician to determine the most effective rehabilitation treatment prescription for a patient. Clinicians cannot always know which treatment approach to use, or how the approach should be implemented to maximize walking recovery. B.J. Fregly, Ph.D. and his team (Andrew Meyer, Ph.D., Carolynn Patten, PT., Ph.D., and Anil Rao, Ph.D.) at the University of Florida developed a computational modeling approach to help answer these questions. They tested the approach on a patient who had suffered a stroke.

The team first measured how the patient walked at his preferred speed on a treadmill. Using those measurements, they then constructed a neuromusculoskeletal computer model of the patient that was personalized to the patient’s skeletal anatomy, foot contact pattern, muscle force generating ability, and neural control limitations. Fregly and his team found that the personalized model was able to predict accurately the patient’s gait at a faster walking speed, even though no measurements at that speed were used for constructing the model.

“This modeling effort is an excellent example of how computer models can make predictions of complex processes and accelerate the integration of knowledge across multiple disciplines,”says Grace Peng, Ph.D., director of the NIBIB program in Mathematical Modeling, Simulation and Analysis.

Fregly and his team believe this advance is the first step toward the creation of personalized neurorehabilitation prescriptions, filling a critical gap in the current treatment planning process for stroke patients. Together with devices that would ensure the patient is exercising using the proper force and torque, personalized computational models could one day help maximize the recovery of patients who have suffered a stroke.

“Through additional NIH funding, we are embarking with collaborators at Emory University on our first project to predict optimal walking treatments for two individuals post-stroke,” says Fregly. “We are excited to begin exploring whether model-based personalized treatment design can improve functional outcomes.”


National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering

Do you dream?

Do you dream?   I started to remember my dreams 2 years ago.  FYI, this is what I said:

Did you ever stop remembering your dreams?  I did…almost 7 years ago.

From time to time, I would remember a dream… after I woke up, but I couldn’t articulate what happened in my dream. This is the FIRST time I dreamt and I was remember what was happening in my dream.  I did something and I remembered it.  This is HUGE!  I almost want to go out and celebrate.

What next???  Will I start being able to articulate my thoughts?  Will I think before I  speak?  Will I be able to walk on my hands?  OK, I can not be walking on my hands… again, but who knows!

I had a dream just the other night…and I think it was in color!  I woke up and was going to tell my wife about it.   I WAS SO EXCITED! I planned the sequence of the dream…the beginning, the middle and the end…and I decided to write it down so I could easily articulate the dream.  I was so excited.  Was this the FINAL barrier I was going to face before getting back to work?  I was also thinking maybe I should take my wife out and spring it on her during our dinner.

I WAS SO excited.  I pulled out a piece of paper and began to write.

I wasn’t able to write ANYTHING.  The minute I started, my mind was racing to find the correct word and nothing would leave my pen.  Darn!   Maybe I should wait another year before I attempt the dream thing.

Do you want to know the single best thing you can do for your heart?


Walking!  The best ideas are often the most simple. This is true in the case of Nilofer Merchant, a Silicon Valley business innovator, whose TED Talk about walking meetings offered one of the most profound yet straightforward corporate wellness solutions. In a corporate world, where the effects of sitting eight hours a day is compared to those of smoking cigarettes, embracing this simple idea makes perfect sense.

Merchant’s fondness of walking meetings was born out of her own health frustrations. She felt that she couldn’t get enough exercise in her day and often had to choose between getting things done or getting healthier. Employees working at desk jobs all across America share this dissatisfaction – it’s difficult to work eight hours a day and muster up the energy to hit the gym after work or wake up for yoga before sunrise. The walking meeting offers a way to multitask, giving employees the ability to exercise their bodies, minds and spirit while still accomplishing important tasks.

What is a Walking Meeting?

In a nutshell, the walking meeting is an active replacement for the typical one-on-one cup of coffee or conference room chat. Instead of sitting still, the participants are able to add anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour of physical activity to their day simply by taking a stroll.

The benefits aren’t confined to the body, however. Proponents of walking meetings suggest that they enhance creativity and problem-solving skills, resolve conflicts, and build social skills. It allows employees to engage both the body and mind and results in a positive working spirit. The time that staff spends working outside on a walk also saves office resources, putting the business solidly on the path to becoming more sustainable and green.

Consider the current environment format of a typical corporate meeting. Often, they’re held in closed-off conference rooms with fluorescent lighting, a setting that isn’t designed to energize the participants. Employees sit around a table and primarily engage with their smart phones or tablets, sometimes taking notes but often being distracted by the same technology that is supposed to make them more productive. The meeting agenda is loosely followed, conversations are scattered and the participants seem drained and disengaged. With a walking meeting, employees are physically moving in a bright, naturally lit environment. Conversations are shorter and more concise, and participants are engaged in the activity and aren’t sitting and staring at their smartphone screens.

Of course, a walking meeting can’t be all things to all people. It’s likely not the way to go for a yearly shareholders meeting, and is typically much more difficult for larger group sizes. It is, however, the go-to suggestion for one-on-one meetings, status updates, brainstorming sessions and more informal gatherings of small groups.

Tips for Your Next Walking Meeting

  • Use a park or outdoor setting whenever possible.
  • Ask participants to turn off their cell phones before the meeting begins.
  • Consider grabbing coffee to go or bringing a water bottle.
  • Try holding walking meetings in the afternoon, when employees’ energy levels are lowest. The fresh air will revive them!
  • Avoid noisy roads or crowded areas.
  • If the group size of is six or more, participants will likely have to deal with multiple side conversations. This is fine for brainstorming or problem solving, but they need to stop and gather back up as a group to keep the meeting productive.
  • Plan indoor meetings in the office space, or have a local route planned in the event of bad weather.
  • Set a goal for walking meetings each week. Suggest replacing weekly status updates with supervisors with a walking meeting and build up to more frequent strolls.
  • Employees should consider purchasing a pedometer or wearable device to track their steps. They’ll see how much additional physical activity they’ll get just by having a few walking meetings a week!
  • Suggest that workers wear comfortable shoes to work or keep a pair at their desk for impromptu meetings.
  • Plot out a few walking routes that work out to the typical length of company meetings. Consider paths that take 15, 30 and 60 minutes to complete.
  • If the staff spends a lot of time on the phone, suggest that employees forward calls to their cell and use that verbal meeting time to pace/walk around instead of sitting at their desks.
  • As with any meeting, facilitators should still send out a formal agenda to keep everyone on track.
  • If it seems beneficial, suggest participants take a digital recorder (or just use an iPhone app) to tape the meeting.

Regardless of whether walking meetings become a key part of the company culture or just a way for employees to get away from their desk for a few moments, take the first step today and break away from the boardroom.

About the Author

Alan Kohll is founder and president of corporate health and wellness solutions TotalWellness. Contact him at Follow TotalWellness on LinkedIn and Twitter.

I now remember my dreams!

Did you ever stop remembering your dreams?  I did…almost 7 years ago.

From time to time, I would remember a dream… after I woke up, but I couldn’t articulate what happened in my dream. This is the FIRST time I dreamt and I was remember what was happening in my dream.  I did something and I remembered it.  This is HUGE!  I almost want to go out and celebrate.

What next???  Will I start being able to articulate my thoughts?  Will I think before I  speak?  Will I be able to walk on my hands?  OK, I can not be walking on my hands… again, but who knows!