We all know that we need to be more active, but it’s often easier said than done. For good health it’s recommended to walk about 10000 steps (around 5 miles) a day – which sounds huge especially if living a fairly sedentary lifestyle. Other than going on massive hikes or climbing a mountain, there are lots of smaller ways that you can use to reach 10000 steps a day.
If you aren’t sure how far you walk a day or the number of steps you take, there are lots of different options available these days. There are apps linked with smart-phones (and it’s GPS functionality) to track your distance, pedometers to clip onto your waistband and more modern technologies like a Fitbit Flex which is a bracelet worn on your wrist capable of measure your activity levels.
Here are my top 10 ways to help get your daily 10000 steps.
1. Use the stairs instead of the lift or escalators at home, in the office or out at the shops. At home if I use the stairs instead of the lift I can easily rack up a few hundred extra steps.
2. Park your car in a spot that’s as far away from the office or supermarket door as possible. You might get a few hundred more steps in depending on how big the carpark is!
3. Get off the bus a few stops early and walk the rest of the way. Alternatively, walk a further distance before getting on the bus/train.
4. Use your lunchtime for a quick stroll around the block. Whether its 15 or 30 minutes, it can make a huge different and might even double your activity levels, especially if you drive to/from work and are sitting down most of the way
5. Rather than meeting up with friends over a coffee and sitting down, catch up while walking and talking your way around the local park.
6. Do the tea and coffee runs in your office. I can rack up an extra 80 steps every time I walk to the kitchen to make a cup of tea or get a glass of water. Offer to get one for your colleagues rather than sitting at your desk to help add to your steps.
7. Dance! Activities like Zumba, step classes, salsa, ballroom dancing and even a night on the town dancing in the clubs are all step based activities which quickly get the numbers up while you’re having fun.
8. If you’re one for shopping – go hit the shopping centre and do some window shopping. Wandering up and down the shops can easily contribute towards your goal step target.
9. Walking meetings – see if you can convince your workmates to get involved in walking meetings where you discuss things on your feet rather than sitting down for hours at a time.
10. Get a dog! Perhaps a bit more of an extreme option, owning a puppy will force you to go on daily walks exercising the dog and consistently adding to your steps. If getting your own isn’t an option, borrow someone else’s! There is often a dog at our workplace waiting to be walked during lunchtime so volunteering or going with the group can be a social way to stay active during the day rather than sitting all lunch.
It’s worth remembering is that every increase on activity counts – even if 10000 is too big a goal for you right now. Start small and make gradual increments towards a larger goal. Take a look at where you are currently and see how you can add to that, one step at a time.