We all know exercise is important. And maybe you’ve even heard that taking 10,000 steps every day is the magic number for health and wellness. But if that’s just not feasible for you and your current lifestyle, there’s no need to panic. Research shows that taking three quick walks is not only great for your health, but maybe even better than the 10,000-step ideal. Here’s why.

First of all, it’s important to know where the goal of 10,000 steps came from. It actually originated in Japan thanks to a young doctor, Yoshiro Hatano, who was getting worried about the Japanese population.

In the 1960s, Hatano observed that his country was becoming more and more sedentary. So, he started to promote the idea of 10,000 steps in an effort to keep people moving and staying slim.

And even though 10,000 steps (approximately five miles) may help people stay in shape, it’s also difficult to fit so many steps into an already-busy day. So, researchers decided to compare 10,000 steps with something a little more do-able called Active 10: three quick, 10-minutes walks each day.

They found that it was harder to complete 10,000 steps than it was to do three, 10-minute walks each day.

That’s already pretty obvious. But what was surprising is that according to one researcher, Professor Copeland, “The Active 10 group actually did 30% more ‘moderate to vigorous physical activity’ than the 10,000-step group, even though they moved for less time.”

And it’s this moderate to vigorous activity that gets your heart rate up and “lowers your risk of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers,” explained Copeland.

So, even if you can “only” fit in three brisk walks per day, you’re already doing something very beneficially for your health.

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