Advertising
Advertising

7 Rock Solid Techniques To Make Your 10,000 Daily Steps Really Count

7 Rock Solid Techniques To Make Your 10,000 Daily Steps Really Count

We have all heard the adage about ten thousand steps a day. Of course, most experts now agree that the 10,000 number is rather subjective, and probably not strictly necessary. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good number to aim for. The more you walk, the more active you are through your day, which can only mean good things for you and your body.

Your Steps Over Time, Versus All At Once

There is one addendum that we have to make to the idea of 10,000 steps being the basis for your health. Many people will try and get these steps in over the course of an entire day. Products like FitBit even have an hourly tracker that encourages you to get in part of these steps by getting up once an hour and moving 250 steps. It is a great idea for people who work sitting down and need the reminder.

But while this is a great improvement in comparison to not getting the steps at all, research has shown that 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily is a crucial move anyone can make for their health. Vigorous exercise may have even more benefits, so many 10k proponents choose to up their pace and get in their 5 miles at a jog or run.

Advertising

Whether you choose to do this or use the little at a time method, one thing is for sure…you want to move. So, how can you make the most of your steps?

1. Make It About Having a Break

A good rule of thumb when you work a sedentary job is to get up once an hour and move for ten minutes. Which might not seem plausible when you are in an office, but you’d be surprised. Just stand up and walk in place, and you will get the same benefits as walking around the block.

Consider it a quick, necessary break.

Advertising

2. Use Step Tracking To Keep You Aware Of Activity

It can be so easy to lose track of the day when you are distracted. Before you know it, a Saturday has been frittered away on the couch, marathon watching Netflix and eating an entire family sized bag of Doritos. But if you are aware of the steps left to take through the day, you can make sure you get up and move.

3. Challenge Your Friends

Activity trackers will often give you the ability to challenge your friends to competitions of who can get the most steps in a day, or a week. It can be a fun way to get fit together, while keeping you connected to the people you care about.

4. Use It To Lose Weight

According to some experts, walking 10,000 steps can have a serious impact on your waistline. On average, it can burn as much as 3500 calories per week, equaling one pound of fat loss when used alongside a proper diet.

Advertising

5. Relax

Walking can be quite a relaxing thing. If you go out for 30 to 40 minutes after dinner, it can help you to unwind, digest food, burn calories, and sleep better at night. Plus, you can listen to podcasts, audiobooks, or even play games like Pokemon Go.

6. Run Errands and Do Chores

One great way to get in steps while being productive is to walk while running errands, and doing things around the house. Go to the store and take extra time checking out products and wandering each aisle. Walk to the nearest bank instead of driving. Mow the lawn and vacuum the whole house.

7. Make Sedentary Time Active Time

Are you planning on watching a TV show for a couple of hours? Walk in place while you are doing it. Get a standing desk and move while you work. Take time you would have been sedentary, and make it more active.

Advertising

Get Moving!

Taking 10,000 steps a day is a great way to make sure you are getting a good amount of activity regardless of your level of movement through the rest of the day. Make those steps count, and get moving!

More by this author

Kevin Jones

Content Strategist

Fitness Product Hacks for Busy Workaholics The Key To Stick To Your Goals Is More About Making Lifestyle Changes The Key To Stick To Your Goals Is About Making Lifestyle Changes New Year, New You: Making Resolutions That Last Past March Prioritize Your Fitness Goals on a 5K, Avoiding Risky Marathon Training what_happens_when_you_actually_train_at_a_targeted_heart_rate What Happens When You Actually Train At A Targeted Heart Rate

Trending in Exercise

1 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly) 2 3 Home Exercises To Fix Your Rounded Shoulders In One Month 3 Workout Every Day: Thursday Music Playlist 4 Cut down on drinking! Time for a post-holiday detox 5 How To Get A Six-Pack In One Month

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising

Published on October 11, 2018

7 Killer Upper Back Stretches to Reduce Pain and Boost Endurance

7 Killer Upper Back Stretches to Reduce Pain and Boost Endurance

Building and maintaining a strong upper back depends not only on strength-training, but stretching and nutrition as well. Stretching the upper back muscles, along with a healthy diet can help alleviate pain while improving endurance.

Did you know that stretching your upper back builds endurance for sports, your job – which may require heavy lifting – and simple, everyday activities? Many people who exercise don’t recognize the importance of having a strong upper back, and often neglect this part of the body, focusing more on the lower back where injuries are more prone to occur.

Upper back endurance is necessary for runners, hikers, golfers, tennis players, bowlers, cyclists; the list goes on and on. If saving time is important to you, you want to reduce chronic back pain, boost your energy levels, or you simply need ways to get through a day at the office while confined to a computer, you’ll begin to understand why the following upper back stretches and exercises are necessary.

Here are seven stretches, combined with exercises, to help you maintain a strong upper back:

1. Lat Pull-Downs

By contracting and lengthening your latissimus dorsi muscles, trapezius, deltoids, rhomboids, teres major, along with the other muscles groups in and around your upper back, you are building muscle endurance and increasing mobility.

Seated at a lat pull-down machine, select a weight stack that is comfortable. Remember, you’re not preparing for a bodybuilding competition, you just want to exercise the back, so heavy weight is unnecessary.

Grab the wide bar above your head, palms down, and using a wide grip, pull the bar down to your chest and contract your upper back muscles.

Keep your head up, looking at the bar. This also helps keep your spine straight and provides a clearance so that the bar doesn’t hit your face. Slowly return the bar to the top and repeat for 15 reps. Do three to four sets.

Advertising

Here’s the correct technique by Denice Moberg:

2. Indoor Rowing

If upright exercises like walking on the treadmill or running outdoors bore you, you can strengthen your core using a rowing machine. Not only will you chisel your back, but the elongation of the upper back during the stroke motion creates a good stretch.

First, select a tension that is challenging but not a struggle. Make sure that your feet are securely placed in the machine’s foot straps, nice and tight to prevent the feet from moving while rowing.

Next, slide yourself in the rowing saddle forward toward the row bar and pull the bar toward the mid-section of your trunk area, which is the finish. Pulling the bar, bring your elbows beyond your back while contracting your upper muscles and rear shoulders.

Your back should be straight with a slight angle of around 100 degrees. Do not hunch.

During the catch, your legs should be at a 90 degree angle while locking out your arms completely. As a stretching exercise, repeat this motion for five minutes.

Here’s how you can do it:

3. Side Plank Rotation

If you’re short on time, floor exercises such as planks strengthen your core and can be done at home or during your lunch break at work. They can be done in 30 to 60 second increments.

Advertising

There are a few plank variations:

The low-position forearm plank in which your body weight is supported by your elbows; the straight-arm plank, which is a high-position plank; side plank in which your body is turned to one side and supported by one straightened arm; the stability-ball plank which is more challenging for your trunk; and the plank that gives you a good stretch is the side plank rotation.

To begin the side plank rotation, begin in the high plank position. Slowly turn your body to one side while stacking one foot on top of the other. Extend the opposite arm toward the ceiling and as you lower your arm, reaching underneath your body and rotating your trunk.

Done properly, you will feel the stretch along your rhomboids and shoulders. Repeat the rotation – reaching and tucking – 10 times. Switch sides.

Here’s a Side Plank Rotation demonstrated by Train Aggressive:

4. Yoga Stretches

A good way to incorporate breathing with stretching and gain flexibility in your core is Kundalini yoga – an intense yoga practice – gets your blood flowing and works wonders for the spine and posture.

The “Cat-Cow” pose is a great upper back warm-up, and when combined with the “Breath Of Fire”[1] or “fast breathing,” energy is sent through the entire body which stimulates the flow of cell activity and increases lung capacity.

On all fours, arms straight and directly below your shoulders, and knees directly below your hips, hunch your back, inhaling as you tuck your head into your chest, then exhale while arching your back and raise your head toward to sky.

Advertising

The rapid inhaling and exhaling in this exercise is known as the “Breath Of Fire,” as mentioned above. Increase the pace of both the “Cat-Cow” and “Breath Of Fire” and repeat this movement for up to five minutes.

This is how to do a Cat-Cow pose for energy:

5. Side Bends

This is a simple stretch to elongate the space between your ribs and increase range of motion, which helps achieve flexibility in the abdominals, spine, and lateral core.

Seated or standing with your back straight, raise your arms above your head and firmly hold your wrist. Gently pull your trunk to one side and hold for 20 to 30 seconds. When finished, repeat on opposite side.

Note: If standing, keep your feet shoulder width apart, if seated keep your feet flat on the floor.

Let’s take a look at how to do a standing side bend:

6. Pole Stretch

By creating opposing force and pulling on a stationary object, you are stretching your lats. The upper sides of your back. Here, you are performing a static stretch which is a stretch held beyond its normal range.

Find a pole, mounted gym apparatus, or other floor-affixed object and, while standing, pull on the object with slightly bent knees and back flat at a 45-degree angle.

Advertising

Continue to pull while extending your arms, feeling the stretch in your lats and rhomboid muscles. Hold for 30 seconds. Repeat if needed.

7. Shoulder Blade Stretch

The shoulder blades are connected to the rhomboid muscles in the upper back. Sudden, quick movements like pulling a heavy object or even tossing a near-weightless object overhead, like a tennis ball during a serve, can strain the unstretched muscles between your shoulder blades, causing spasms.

Here’s how to avoid muscle strain:

Standing tall with feet shoulder width apart, gently pull your elbow across your chest, just beneath your chin, and hold for 15 seconds. If you do not feel immediate relief, try lowering or raising the elbow and perform the stretch again. Different angles can make a big difference.

There you have it – Seven upper back stretches and exercises to reduce pain and improve endurance. But while upper back stretches are important, a diet rich in antioxidants is equally key.

Bonus Tip: Getting a Diet Rich in Antioxidants

Antioxidants, also known as “Super Foods,” prevent the build up of free radicals in your body and control oxidative stress. These free radicals are toxins that get in the way of endurance, flexibility, and cause inflammation, among other fitness obstacles.

How do you incorporate antioxidants into your diet? Here are some common foods and beverages rich in antioxidants:

A good combination of quick and easy targeted cardiovascular exercises, static stretches, range-of-motion stretches, and yoga poses can increase upper back endurance and boost your energy levels, making your activities – both sedentary and active – manageable and fun.

Once you begin to incorporate these methods of relief into your routine, you will begin to walk taller, run farther, and hike longer!

Featured photo credit: Geert Pieters via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Yogapedia: Breath of Fire

Read Next