Achieving a ten thousand step walking routine has become the cornerstone of many people’s health regime in London. It’s something that is fairly attainable for most of us and with a bit of creativity needn’t be boring. The first thing that all us unfit desk jockeys need to know is that 10,000 steps isn’t as arduous as it sounds and secondly, they don’t have to be completed all in one go. Thankfully, with the release of the walking steps tube-map, it’s now possible to get creative while getting in shape.
London Tube stops are on average a thousand steps apart and counting stations off while enjoying the sights and sounds of our great city is a fantastic way to making the morning commute a memorable one. Remember, if you get tired or run into bad weather, you’ll only be a couple of minutes away from the comfort of the Underground.
There are plenty of London neighbourhoods where renting an apartment fits in perfectly with a healthy walk-to-work lifestyle. It’s probably advisable to concentrate on the in-bound journey, especially if you have a stressful job or like to socialise directly after work.
|Chelsea||Imperial Wharf – Piccadilly Circus||9,600|
|Kensington||High Street Kensington – St Paul’s||10,100|
|West Hampstead||West Hampstead – Farringdon||10,800|
There are also some “fall out of bed and you’re there” options:
|Wapping||Wapping – Tower Hill||2,800|
|Nine Elms||Vauxhall – Victoria||3,000|
|Bermondsey||Bermondsey – London Bridge||2,600|
A note of caution for those commuting to Docklands from south of the river areas like Surrey Quays. It may seem that Canary Wharf is just outside your window but, because of the lack of nearby bridge crossings, a walk from Canada Water station to Canary Wharf will take 14,400 steps for that one stop alone; choose a nice day and wear comfy trainers!
So why the goal of 10,000 steps, then? Well, apart from sounding rather more epic than just five miles, the number first surfaced in Japan just before the 1964 Olympic Games when the whole country was getting into exercise big time. The number 10,000 is apparently very auspicious and also lends itself to great sounding marketing campaigns, so it’s as good a figure as any.
Here’s how the magic figure breaks down.
10,000 steps = approx 5 miles/8km. Roughly the distance between Canary Wharf and St Paul’s or the height of Mount Everest
10,000 steps = approx 400 calories burned. You’ll lose on average 1lb / 0.5 kg if you walk briskly, equating to half a stone in a week
10,000 steps = approx 90 minutes. About the same time it takes Arsenal to blow a 2-0 lead or the time it takes for X Factor to announce their winner
If our guide to staying fit while living in the capital has got you inspired to start your very own 10k plan, why not grab your trusty Fitbit app and check out five of our suggested routes to get you going:
Route: Camden Town – Chalk Farm – Belsize Park – Hampstead (Northern line)
Total number of steps: 5,000
Benefits: Apart from the first section, all your steps will be uphill. It actually gets pretty steep as you near Hampstead so you’ll definitely be burning extra calories. Reward yourself with a freshly squeezed juice drink just outside Hampstead station.
Route: Westminster – Embankment – Temple – Blackfriars (District line)
Total number of steps: 3,000
Benefits: Many City professionals are prone to spill out of Bank station, clutching their phones and lattes without even a glance at the world famous sights that surround them. The route where the Square Mile meets the Thames takes you past Big Ben, The London Eye and St Paul’s Cathedral. A couple of months walking this route and you won’t be caught short the next time you’re asked about Wren churches or the origins of the Great Fire.
Route: Marble Arch – Bond Street – Oxford Street – Tottenham Court Road (Central line)
Total number of steps: 2,300
Benefits: A very short walk on paper but it’s through the West End’s prime shopping district so you’ll probably burn calories either by dodging shoppers or by acquiring some impulse purchases as you go.
Route: Borough – London Bridge – Monument – Tower Bridge ( Northern/District/Circle lines)
Total number of Steps: 2,500
Benefits: Another route that’s short and sweet. Starting from the culinary hub that is Borough Market, passing the mighty Shard and ending at the futuristic GLA building, you’ll get fantastic views of the Thames while crossing it twice.
Route: Greenwich – Cutty Sark – Island Gardens – Mudchute – Crossharbour – South Quay – Heron Quay (DLR)
Total number of steps: 5,000
Benefits: You’ll pass the iconic Cutty Sark before walking under the Thames through the Greenwich Tunnel. You can then marvel at the sheer architectural scope and variation of the Docklands Peninsula.
The advantage of the 5K step journey is that it fits in with most daily commutes. There and back, it achieves your target without any extra walking. The shorter routes are useful for your lunch breaks and are hopefully better for you than queuing for overpriced sandwiches or propping up the bar. As your fitness improves you’ll be able to complete even the longest walk in just over half an hour, leaving plenty of time to boast about it on the Fitbit social network.
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