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Trying to increase your steps? Check out how you can get to 10,000 steps each day!
Walking regularly is one of the easiest things you can do for your health. Especially if you have the kind of job that keeps you stuck to your desk for 8 hours (or more) a day.
Walking can help improve your mood, lower your blood pressure, reduce risk of chronic disease, help prevent varicose veins, and improve your digestion.
Regular walking also helps protect your joints – something that becomes more important as we get older. Plus – being active in general helps us live longer.
You may think that fitting extra walking into your already-packed schedule is going to be quite difficult – but it is actually quite easy. The trick is to add it on to activities you are already doing.
Why 10,000 Steps
The idea of having 10,000 steps as a goal has become so mainstream, you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was based on science and research.
In fact – you can thank a small Japanese gadget for popularising the 10 000 steps concept
In 1964, as the Olympic Games fever was gripping the Japanese population, pedometers became very popular as a way to track activity levels.
One particular Japanese manufacturer released a pedometer called “manpo-kei”, which translates as “10,000 steps”.
The idea of having 10,000 steps as a daily goal took off in Japan, and then the rest of the world.
That being said – 10,000 steps is actually a good goal to have, especially if you are not generally very active on a daily basis. 10,000 steps equates to around 5 miles, depending on your stride, and could take between 80-100 minutes.
And if you're thinking to yourself – “I can’t fit that much in – I work in an office all day!”, I’m going to show you how to get more steps with a desk job.
How To Track Your Steps
The easiest way to track your steps is to use a pedometer. They are quite cheap now and should be easy to find. (They are often called ‘sports bands’ now.)
If you use a sports watch such as a Garmin or Apple watch, it will have a built-in step counter. Even very basic sports watches have steps counters built-in.
You can use your smartphone, but they are not quite as reliable. Plus – you’ll have to remember to pick it up every time you move and hold it in such a way that it picks up your steps.
How To Get Started
Before you start, you need to know what your ‘baseline’ is. This is how many steps you currently walk per day. Once you know how much you currently walk, it will give you an idea of how much you need to add in.
Then pick and choose from the options listed below. Choose a combination of smaller and larger activities to get to your full 10,000 steps.
What If You’re Not Used To Walking That Much?
If your average day doesn’t involve much walking, and you are feeling overwhelmed at the idea of trying to get to 10 000 steps, then just start small.
Track your walking for a few days to see how much you currently walk. Then for the first couple of weeks, try to increase your volume gradually.
For example, if you only walk 3000 steps per day, try adding on an additional 500 steps every two days until you get to the full 10,000.
Small Steps Add Up – Simple Ways To Get To Your 10 000 Steps
There are a number of ways to get more steps that don’t require much more effort than what you are already doing.
A few of them require you to be outdoors, which I know is not always feasible. So I will also show you how to get more steps indoors.
Take The Stairs
Anywhere you come across an opportunity to take the stairs, go with it. The mall, the gym, the office. (One caveat – if you wear heels to the office, make sure they’re comfortable enough to go up and downstairs.)
An average flight of stairs is roughly the same as 38 steps on flat ground, so skip the elevator and get those steps in!
Take A Walking Lunch
Pack your walking shoes, and instead of eating your lunch at your desk – again – fit in a 15-minute walk.
If you are near a park or something similar, you can take your lunch with you to eat outdoors. You will get back to work feeling refreshed and focused for the rest of the day.
If the weather isn’t good and you are near a mall, you can do some window-shopping instead.
*Bonus tip – keep a few pairs of smart work shoes by your desk. You can travel to and from work in your trainers, and then you also have them ready for your walking lunch.
Get Off One Stop Earlier
If you take the bus or train to work, get off one stop sooner and walk the extra distance. This is where traveling in trainers comes in handy!
I wouldn’t recommend this in the summer on your way to work, though. Who wants to arrive at the office all hot and sweaty?
Use A Further Bathroom
Instead of always going to the bathroom nearest your desk, take a little detour to go to one a little further – or even on another floor!
Do You Need To Send That Email?
Instead of firing off a quick email to your colleague, ask yourself if it could be done in person? Take a walk to your colleague’s desk instead get some social time in addition to the extra steps.
Dance It Out
This is a fun one that you can do alone, or with your kids.
Throw on your favorite song and get moving. Don’t worry about how you look – no one's watching! (And if your kids are still young, they’ll think you’re the coolest mom.)
You can make this do double duty by having a cleaning dance party! Chores are more fun when you have good music and carefree dancing involved.
Walk and Talk
I don’t know about you, but I can never just sit still while on the phone or a conference call.
If you are on a call, instead of staying put on your chair, pop in your earbuds and go for a walk – even just around the house or in your garden. (If you’re walking outdoors, take care to be aware of your surroundings.)
Park Further Away
Skip the circling around the car park until you get a spot near the door. Park further away when you go to the mall and get those extra steps in.
And while we’re at it – when you’re at the mall, use the opportunity to get more steps in by walking from end-to-end as part of your trip.
Combine eating well (like starting a keto diet) along with trying to get 10,000 steps daily.
Take It To The Next Level – More Ways To Get Your 10 000 Steps
These are a little more time-intensive, so try to get at least one of these in per day.
Walk With A Furry Friend
If you have a dog, going on daily walks is an easy way to get your steps in. Plus it has the added benefit of bonding time with your pooch.
If you don’t have your own dog, you could foster one, or volunteer at your local dog rescue organization. They welcome volunteers who want to come and walk or play with the dogs. And it is such a rewarding experience!
Make a group activity
Instead of a lazy brunch with the girls, why not meet up at a local park and make it a walking catch-up? You get the benefit of bonding with your friends, fresh air, and exercise all in one.
Mowing or raking the lawn can rack up a surprising number steps – especially if you have a large garden!
Not just for runners – Parkrun has grown hugely in popularity over the years. Every Saturday morning across the US (and many other countries), people take part in a timed 5km run outdoors in a beautiful setting.
Don’t get put off by the name – a large number of Parkrunners actually walk the route. So you will be surrounded by like-minded people.
Find your local Parkrun by going here, and then get the whole family involved!
And there you have it – 13 ways to get to 10 000 steps every day. Easier than you thought, wasn’t it?