10 Easy Ways to Get to 10,000 Steps
Have you ever wondered why there’s so much hype around reaching 10,000 steps? Walking is a form of exercise that suits many different fitness levels and can be done almost anywhere. It isn’t as intense and heart-pounding as running or as equipment-based as weight lifting. No wonder the American Heart Association has endorsed this trend as being a way to improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels!
Walking briskly for 40 minutes, 3 to 4 times per week can help you meet weekly physical activity recommendations. However, if you are new to walking for exercise, ease into it! 10,000 steps can be a steep increase if you’re starting from a lower baseline. Talk with your healthcare provider to determine a good starting point for your step goal, and then work forward from there. If you want to start tracking your steps but don’t have a fancy fitness watch yet, don’t worry. You can easily monitor your step count with a smartphone app instead.
Ready to get started? Here are our top 10 tips to help you reach your step goal, whether it’s 10,000 steps or something higher or lower!
- Take the stairs. Walking up the stairs instead of taking the elevator can add steps to your overall count. If you work on a higher level floor, get off the elevator a floor or two early, and walk up the rest of the way.
- Take a brain break. Studies show that productivity can increase when you give the brain a break every hour. Take a lap around the office!
- Park farther away. Running errands? Fighting for that front spot? Save yourself some stress, and pile on those steps by parking farther away from the building.
- Get off the bus or train one stop early. If safe and feasible, walk the extra half a mile to work. It’ll help wake you up and get you ready for the work day.
- Take a walk after dinner. Make it a habit to take a walk with the family after dinner. In addition to adding to your step count, it can also help manage blood sugar levels!
- Don’t press send. Sending an e-mail to someone in the same building as you? Take a walk, and share your message in person. This not only adds to your step count but also is more personal and can improve workplace relationships.
- Go hands-free. Have a conference call that you know you won’t need to write things down for? Take a walk while on the call. A 30-minute walking phone call could add up to about 1,800 steps!
- Walk the dog. Don’t just let your dog out in the backyard. Go with him and take a brisk lap around the neighborhood instead.
- Break it up. Think of your step goal in 2,000 step chunks to make it more manageable. Aim for 2,000 steps before work, before lunch, after lunch, mid-afternoon, and after dinner.
- Wear the right shoes. Having comfortable and supportive sneakers are important for staying injury free while walking. Don’t know what kind of shoes to buy? Read recommendations online, or even better, go into a sporting goods store and ask a specialist! If you have pain when you walk even with appropriate shoes, talk to your doctor before continuing.