We’ve all heard that staying active will help us feel better, fight off illness, and stay healthy. We’ve also heard that being active can mean a number of things – anything from a walk around the block to a trip to the gym. When Fitbits first started taking off a few years ago, a new step tracking craze began to develop. As counting steps began to take off in popularity, we started to hear more and more often that 10,000 steps was the goal activity level. As step tracking devices evolve and knowledge on the subject progresses, it is now a well-known fact that 10,000 steps a day is a healthy activity level.
While we’ve heard that taking 10,000 steps a day is the healthy goal, that number alone doesn’t say much. 10,000 steps is equivalent to roughly 5 miles a day, which sounds like an awful lot by itself. Running or walking 5 miles all at one time takes up a significant chunk of time. If you’re a runner, a 5 mile run might sound very manageable to you – but what about those rest or yoga days? If you’re a swimmer or biker, fitting in 5 miles of steps might just sound ridiculous.
However, setting a goal to get 10,000 steps per day is a great goal. It’s ambitious, yet attainable. There are always those days where we are especially active; days when you complete a long run, walk around a new city, or dance the night away at a wedding. Days like these make 10,000 steps feel like nothing. But those rest days, work days, and busy days are the true test in our dedication.
Despite what we might think, fitting in 10,000 steps in a regular day might not be as time consuming as we anticipate. There are actually quite a few ways to take 10,000 steps that involve very little changes to your regular routine. Here are 9 ways to increase your step count each day, whether it’s a rest day or an active one, to get you closer to that goal of hitting 10,000 steps a day.
9 Clever Ways to Get 10,000 Steps a Day
Take the stairs.
The simplest way to add some steps into your day is to take the stairs instead of the elevator. If you work or go to class on another floor of the building, use the stairs to get there instead of the elevator. At home, make as many trips as possible up and down your stairs during the day. Rather than carrying the laundry all up in one load, break it up into 2 or 3 different trips. Even just a few trips up and down one flight of stairs will start to add up.
Walk and talk (or walk and listen/read).
If you regularly take breaks during the day to talk on the phone, listen to music or read a book, multitask and complete these tasks while walking. Walking during the time that you usually designate to relax and talk to a friend or read a book can really start to add up. Most books are now available in an audio book format, so you can listen to them while you walk. Download a podcast or call your friend while you’re getting in some steps after dinner.
Park farther away.
Do you always find yourself circling the parking lot to find the closest parking spot? Mix it up and intentionally pick a spot in the back. Park on the opposite side of the parking lot to make the walk from your car into work or the grocery store a little farther.
Take breaks – and set reminders.
Breaking to walk throughout the day not only increases your step count, but also promotes circulation and prevents your muscles from tensing up. If you’re anything like me, you know how easy it is to start working and lose track of time unintentionally. Set reminders every hour or so on your phone to remind yourself to get up and walk around. Walk to the staff lounge, downstairs to get the laundry, to make yourself a snack, or just around your office a few times. Any little bit will add up if you do this multiple times throughout the day.
Related: 15 Minute Lunch Break Office Workout
Have a dance party.
Put on your favorite tunes while getting ready, making dinner, or just for fun in the evening and dance around. The steps you take while dancing add up even faster than walking, and usually don’t feel like work at all. Let yourself be a little silly on a weeknight and dance to your favorite songs after dinner.
Play with your kids or dog.
If you have children or a dog, they will most likely love to help you squeeze in your steps! Play outside with your kids or dog when you get home from work. Run around your backyard, go for a walk, visit a playground or a dog park. You’ll spend some quality time with your family while increasing your step count.
Complete a cardio workout.
If walking isn’t your thing, opt for another form of cardio. You can go for a run, jump rope, or complete any cardio workout in your living room. Many bodyweight moves can really increase your step count right in your living room, even while watching tv. Try some jumping jacks, mountain climbers, skaters, or butt kicks during the next commercial break to add in some extra steps.
Try for three short walks a day.
Knowing that you have to walk 5 miles in order to hit 10,000 steps for the day can feel a little intimidating. Rather than trying to squeeze in one long walk, break them up throughout the day. Head out for a short walk before work, one after lunch, and another after dinner. By incorporating three walks of only 30 minutes or so you will hit your step count without even trying.
Do some household chores.
Chores like vacuuming, dusting, cutting the grass or washing your car help you fit in more steps while being productive. If you have an especially sedentary day, opt to check one of your chores off the list and boost your steps. Anything that requires you to move around the house or yard will make a big difference.
Getting 10,000 steps a day sounds like a huge number when you realize it means walking 5 miles, but your step goal can be accomplished in so many different ways. Finding a way to increase your activity level throughout the day really starts to add up. Rather than trying to fit all your steps in at once, make small changes at regular points during the day. Remember to get up from your desk frequently, and try to find evening activities that keep you off the couch. Find the ways that work for you and make them a part of your daily routine.
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