With the release of a new Apple products the fan boy community tends to go nuts. The release of a new iphone creates a buzz and excitement that rivals when most countries first gain their indapendence…

What was interesting with the release of the iphone 6, ios8 and the Apple watch was the inclusion of the new health kit app.

Your phone has a lot of sensors built in it that have applications to measuring some of your health markers. You can use the flash from your camera to measure your heart rate through a variety of heart rate apps.

One of the new interesting features that has been expanded upon with the new generation of iphone is the ability to measure the distance you cover walking and exercising. Most people are familiar with FItbit which has been around for quite awhile and it seems like Apple sees this ability to track your distance covered in exercise as a valuable measurement.

So why is tracking your steps important and how many should you be taking a day?

Step It Up

It goes without saying that today we really don’t need to be fit or strong to survive in our modern society. We don’t really need to walk too far anymore, we don’t need to climb stairs as technology can carry us between floors, we have machines that can do all our heavy lifting and we can drive up to places to get our food or even money.

Our ancestors who had to spend days hunting and tracking animals and risk not coming away with anything would be rolling over in their graves knowing their future descendants could drive up to a window and order a half pound of beef between two buns. With bacon…

We have become able to not spend a lot of time on or feet walking and this can actually have some serious health consequences.

Why Is Staying On Our Feet So Important?

“Never stand up when you can sit down” Said Winston Churchill famously and if you look at his physique you can see why this is bad advice… A lot of research has come out lately showing the negative consequences of sitting for extended periods of time.

It seems weird to think that sitting could make us sick and fat but when you realize that adults are sedentary for 60% of their waking hours and the average person sits for 6 hours a day it’s easy to see how inactive we really are.

When you spend too much time sitting you increase blood pressure as the diameter of your arteries is decreased and these can both increase heart disease risk.

Another risk is bone fracture as excessive time sitting decreases bone mineral density and add to that excessive weight and obesity which comes from sitting.  Being inactive plus excess weight puts a lot of force  on those weakening bones.

Speaking of excessive weight it becomes much harder to lose weight when you spend a lot of time sitting as it decreases an enzyme called lipoprotein lipase or LPL which helps burn fat.

Sitting for just two hours is long enough to turn off this enzyme.

Don’t Just Sit There, Do Something!

Does anyone remember the hour of power from the Crystal Cathedral?

Even if you don’t remember those commercials this is very good advice. We spend too much time sitting down either due to our jobs or are genuine inactivity that leads us to the couch rather than taking a walk.

So what’s the amount of steps we need to be taking? The aim is for 10,000 a day. Ideally you want to spend 50% of your waking hours on your feet for optimal health. This might not always be possible but it is very easy to incorporate in extra steps.

The average person is taking 1000-3000 steps a day, far less then the 10,000 that is recommended. This is where wearable technology or your phone can become valuable. The ability to measure your steps gives you a good indicator of where you are starting out at with the goal being able to get up to 10,000 steps a day.

If you have taken measurements and found your only doing say 5000 a day you don’t want to immediately jump up to 10,000 the next day but make it a goal to add in 500 extra steps a day. If you found yourself doing 5000 a day make it a point to get to 5500 each day by the end of next week. The week after try to get to 6000 a day for that entire week and so on until you’re up around 10,000 per day.

Ways To Add In More Steps

It’s easy to incorporate in extra steps a day and it can be as simple as taking a walk after dinner. The average persons stride length is around 2.5 feet long so going for a mile walk will use up about 2000 steps which is very manageable.

other ways to increase steps:

  • using stairs instead of elevators or escalators
  • parking farther from your work or at the mall
  • doing yard work
  • getting up to change the channel
  • walk on lunch breaks

Wrapping It Up

You can see the dangers that come from a lack of activity. Even if we exercise we tend to neglect our basic human function of walking the rest of the day. Just because you spent an hour in the gym doesn’t mean you are immune from walking and can spend the rest of the day on the couch.

Keep in mind that it’s best to not go more than 2 hours of straight sitting. Make it a point to get up for a minute or two every half hour if you work a sit down desk. A lot of people have even got into stand up desks which might not be practical where you are but are a step in the right direction for getting back in tune with our natural state.

Just walking