If you’ve made a goal to increase your steps each day, it may feel easier said than done. Life gets busy with work, family, and friends, and setting a step goal (let alone meeting it) might not be your number one priority.
But getting more steps in your day doesn’t have to be a big or time-consuming change. There are many small ways you can increase your step count — and it’s not just about steps.
While the common belief is that you need to walk 10,000 steps every day — and it’s true that the more you walk, the lower your risk for mortality will be — the benefits actually level out earlier than 10,000 steps:
- If you are younger than 60 years old, aim to walk 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day.
- If you are older than 60 years old, walk 6,000 to 8,000 steps per day.
So if walking 10,000 steps feels impossible, you can still achieve significant benefits by walking less than what you think you have to.
Here are 7 ways you can increase your step count each day.
1. Make Walking More Interesting
Walking can be… boring. The view from a treadmill can be pretty uninspiring, and even just walking around your neighborhood every day can make the activity feel like a chore. Make walking more exciting by finding a new walking trail or putting on an episode of a podcast you love.
2. Make Your Home Office Walking-Friendly
If you work from home, you may find yourself spending a lot of time just sitting at your desk — but that doesn’t mean you can’t also increase your step count throughout the day. Try creating an “office” space that is more conducive to walking around. Some office furniture can even help you increase your steps, like a standing desk or under the desk pedals.
If you’re going to be walking during the summer heat, check out these exercise tips!
3. Get a Good Pair of Walking Shoes
If you want to be someone who walks a lot, you need a good pair of walking shoes. When thinking about a good pair of shoes, consider factors such as where you’re going to be walking most often (pavement, hiking trails, a treadmill) and also the different ways that shoes support your feet (fit, comfort, and durability).
4. Do an Online “Steps” Workout
Many online videos are dedicated exclusively to helping people reach their daily step goals. Look for “walking workouts” or try searching by how many steps you want to do — or how much time you have. Even a short 5‑minute video can really give your step goal a boost each day.
5. Park Farther Away
Think about the different activities in your routine where you try to walk as little as possible — like going to the grocery store or going through the drive-through ATM. Some errands you may even be able to do by walking, but if you can’t avoid taking your car, try parking a little bit farther away. Walking 100 steps to get from your car to the store instead of 20 can really add up.
6. Throw a Dance Party for One
Getting your steps in every day doesn’t mean that your “steps” have to be actual steps. Dancing is a great way to get some steps in as well. In addition to helping you hit your goal for steps, dancing can also help reduce stress and prevent the risk of other health conditions like osteoporosis.
7. Start a Challenge With Your Friends or Coworkers
Taking part in a walking challenge can be a helpful way to keep you focused on your step count. Having an accountability buddy — and some friendly competition — can motivate you to increase your step count. Make walking a group effort by setting a goal with a couple of friends or starting a challenge at your workplace.
Improve Your Mindset, and Increase Your Steps
Counting steps might work for some, but for others keeping track of time spent exercising might work better. If making a goal for steps doesn’t work for you, don’t feel bad — there are many ways to get moving, and many ways to keep track of your activity, too.
When it comes to building habits, it’s easy to fall into an “all-or-nothing” mentality. If you want to increase your step count in the long run, it’s not about walking 10,000 steps and burning yourself out. It’s about making small changes — in activity and mindset — to make more steps just another part of your lifestyle.
For more information about starting a fitness routine, contact your primary care provider, or schedule a video visit today.