Go for a walk: How many steps per day is optimal?

Advice from Germany’s most famous sports scientist, Ingo Froboese

Author: Benita Wintermantel | Category: Health and Medicines | 04/08/2022

Walking trains the body and puts you in a good mood.

Photo: Shutterstock / Mikhail Dudarev

The fact is that many people do not move enough. Now is the right time to start a more active life! We met fitness professional Prof. Dr. Ingo Froboese who talked about what an effective walk looks like and which exercises are a good addition.

In fact, humans are designed to move. But too often our inner bastard prevents us from training. A good alternative: a gentle workout on your own.

In the months of confinement, many people have Go for a walk discovered by themselves. Some calm and leisurely, others fast and sporty, many of them accompanied by friends or acquaintances. Because: It is particularly good to go for a walk while talking, and the risk of infection in the open air is extremely low.

If walking is practiced correctly, it does your body a lot of good and can even achieve training effects.

Walking has positive effects on the body

Going for a walk is healthy, as numerous studies show. “We now know that walkers have lower cholesterol levels than non-walkers,” explains sports scientist Prof. Dr. Ingo Frobose. But not only that.

Anyone who goes for a walk regularly strengthens their muscles, reduces the risk of cardiovascular and many other chronic diseases, mobilizes the immune system and even sleeps better at night. However, going for a walk should not be equated with a leisurely walk, but with brisk walking.


Shutterstock / Maridav (Photo: 3,000 more steps per day are good for your health.)

10,000 steps a day?

10,000 steps a day is a goal for many people to stay healthy. But behind the supposed formula of fitness there is no scientific study, but nothing more than a publicity stunt. In 1964, the Japanese company Yamasa brought out the first pedometer around the time of the Olympics and advertised it with the magic number of 10,000 steps, supposedly to do something good for your health. However, this number has never been scientifically proven.

Meanwhile, a large number of studies show that fewer steps per day are enough to achieve positive effects. Professor Froboese, an expert in sports and prevention, is also skeptical: “We assume that most people are overwhelmed with 10,000 steps a day in everyday life.”

Individual training: 3,000 more steps per day

Froboese advocates a different approach: Instead of aiming to take 10,000 steps a day, everyone should just 3,000 extra steps a day make.

The health benefit of the “3,000 more steps a day” idea was determined in a study by the Health Center (ZfG) of the German Sports University Cologne: According to this, even 3,000 more steps a day significantly reduce cholesterol. level. “The concept is not new, but it is and remains an optimal approach to getting more exercise in everyday life,” says Froboese. Because the untrained have the same training effect as people who go for a walk regularly.

Starting today: 3,000 more steps

  • The important thing is: don’t overdo it at first, but start slowly.
  • A pedometer (also available as an app for mobile phones, it’s even built into Apple devices) is a good help at first. As a rule of thumb: It takes about ten minutes to walk 1,000 steps. However, Froboese also advises, “It’s more important than counting steps to relearn your own body language.”
  • Froboese encourages those who want to step up their training and go from walking to running faster: “Anyone who can walk 10,000 steps can also run 10,000 steps.” It is important to walk slowly and calmly: “Run in such a way that you always have enough oxygen available, that is, without panting.”

This way you ensure more movement in the day to day

  • For short distances, leave the car behind and walk.
  • Don’t drive to the grocery store, but walk to the many small stores in the neighborhood.
  • Have meetings with your girlfriend, friend or family outside. Going for a walk is a great place to chat. And when it’s warm enough, you can pack up your coffee and cookies and have a little picnic on the park bench along the way.
Stairs instead of elevators: This also ensures more movement in everyday life.

Stairs instead of elevators: This also ensures more movement in everyday life. (Photo: Shutterstock/BOOCYS)

  • From now on, elevators and escalators are taboo: climbing stairs is good physical training and also strengthens the buttocks.
  • If you like to listen to podcasts or music, you can combine both with a walk.
  • Many phone calls, for example with the family, can also be easily made while taking a walk.
  • On your way to work, get off a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way. If you drive, you can park further away from work.
  • Use the lunch break for a short walk. Fresh air and exercise provide new energy.

Walking can also be an exercise

“Most walk too slowly,” says Ingo Froboese. “But walking slowly is definitely better than sitting. We also fill ourselves with light and oxygen, stimulate and activate the immune system, and stimulate blood circulation.” For untrained people, walking slowly also has an effect, while sporty people should do it with more determination.

Because: A well-executed walk lowers cholesterol levels, improves the work of the heart and has positive effects on the lungs. “To achieve this effect, we should always walk in such a way that we feel a slight increase in breathing rate and an increase in heart rate,” advises Froboese.

Breathe properly while walking

The expert has a practical tip ready for this: Inhale for four steps, then exhale for four steps. This breathing rhythm should be practiced for at least 80 percent of the distance. “If you want a little more, you can shorten the pace to three steps in and three steps out, for example if you have a hill in front of you or if you’re climbing stairs.” You should maintain the shortest breath rate for a maximum of 20 percent of the training distance.

Muscle training: “Muscles have to burn!”

If you want to turn your walk into a small training program, you should also train the large muscle groups, since they are the ones that affect our body the most.

Froboese gave us five exercises that you can easily do at home. You don’t need any equipment for this, you work with your own body weight. The goal should be a muscle pull: “Muscles have to burn to grow!”

Important for squats: do them slowly.

Important for squats: do them slowly. (Photo: Shutterstock/nkjunky)

1st exercise: Classic squats – good for calves, thighs and glutes

As you squat, slowly go up and down with your feet shoulder-width apart. The seat of a chair serves as a guide. Give your butt a quick poke and then come back up. Tap briefly and then up again.

2. Exercise: pendulum for the upper body – good for the abdomen and back

Sit facing the edge of the chair and slowly move your upper body forward until it almost reaches your thigh. Then back, almost to the back. Make the movement of the pendulum slowly and in a controlled way.

3. Arm Support – Good for shoulders and upper arms

You will need a chair with a back for this exercise. Sit down and from a seated position, push yourself up using arm strength only, then slowly lower yourself back down.

4. Arm circles: good for shoulder joint mobility

The shoulder area must not only be strong, but also flexible. Shoulder circles are the best exercise: Roll your arms slowly and in a controlled manner back and forth several times a day to maintain mobility.

5. Bounces, jumps and light jumps: good for the muscles of the feet and coordination.

For example, jump up and down the edge of the rug or lightly jump on the spot. Always jump on the front of your foot, charge lightly, and preferably barefoot.

Read more at oekotest.de:

Leave your vote

Leave a Comment

Forgot password?

Enter your account data and we will send you a link to reset your password.

Your password reset link appears to be invalid or expired.

Log in

Privacy Policy

Add to Collection

No Collections

Here you'll find all collections you've created before.