Habits for Achieving 10,000 Steps a Day
There are a lot of health websites and medical experts out there recommending we walk an average of 10,000 steps each day and tracking your steps is easier than ever these days. There are hundreds of activity tacker devices on the market to tell you if you’re achieving 10,000 steps a day. Heck, most smart phones can now track your daily moves and you can even buy a simple pedometer for around $5 at just about any drug store. So, tracking your steps is pretty simple. Getting the steps in is not as simple. Most of us are busy people and busy does not necessarily mean physically active. I’m a pretty active person, a runner even, and there are days where I struggle to hit 10,000 steps if I don’t focus on it. However, as long as I put a few healthy habits into practice I almost always achieve my 10,000 steps in a day.
Five habits that go a long way in achieving 10,000 steps a day:
1. Take the stairs.
We’ve heard it a million times, it’s just better to take the stairs. I get it though, sometimes you’re like, “I am NOT going to walk up 10 flights of stairs and be all out of breath when I get to my appointment.” I get that, but at least take the stairs to the third floor and then take the elevator the rest of the way. Work your way up and challenge yourself to take the stairs further each week. Either way, always take the stairs on the way down. BONUS: walking at least some stairs each day is a great way to build quality muscle in your legs and glutes (your butt).
2. Park farther from the door.
We all run errands and hit up the grocery store. So, instead of finding the spot closest to the door, find the one furthest from the door. This may not be a great choice when it’s pouring down rain but on all of the other days, go for it. You’d be surprised how this small change not only adds to your daily step count but also contributes to improving your mood.
3. Have a walking meeting.
Whether you’re in the corporate world or not, it’s highly likely you’re having some sort of meeting or social time in your weekly routine. If you’re at work and need to meet with a fellow colleague about a project, talk it out over a walk. Either walk the perimeter of your building or find a way to walk throughout the halls. One of our clients, Ontario Systems, incorporated this into their culture a few years ago and the employees who take advantage of walking one on ones love it. You don’t have to do this at the office either. Next time you’re meeting a friend for coffee, suggest a walking catch up session instead.
4. Two minutes on the hour every hour.
If you have a job or daily routine that has you sitting a lot, set an alarm or reminder on your phone to get up every hour. You’d be surprised how long we can sit for a given period of time, especially if we’re super focused on what we’re doing. At the top of the hour get up and go for a two minute walk. Even if this is literally walking circles in your office. If you can do this 10 times in a day, it’ll equal to 20 minutes of walking which adds up to approximately 1 mile and 3,000 steps (individual results will vary). It can be hard to find 20 minutes to walk a mile, but it’s not hard to find 2 minutes throughout your day.
5. Phone a friend.
Grab some headphones that include a microphone and catch up with an old friend while you’re on a walk. You can do this either outside or on a treadmill. The first time I did this I planned on talking and walking for maybe ten minutes, next thing I knew it was 45 minutes later and I’d walked 3 miles and had the best time catching up with an old friend I hadn’t seen in a year. Pairing quality time on the phone with a friend with physical activity increases your endorphins which make the “work” of physical activity not feel like so much work. Try it!
Getting to 10,000 steps a day may not happen overnight for everyone. I promise you it’s an achievable goal. Implementing small changes to your daily routine will prove to be an effective way to increase your chances of achieving 10,000 steps in a day. What are some ways you work to achieve 10,000 steps in a day?