Fitness experts agree that walking is one of the safest and easiest forms of exercise. It’s a relaxing and enjoyable activity that everyone from children to pregnant women to the elderly can do to stay healthy. Walking is also an easy starting point for building your fitness routine, especially if you haven’t exercised for years and you can’t do strenuous exercises yet.
Popular fitness trackers like Fitbit usually have 10,000 steps a day as their default goal. The figure isn’t actually recommended by the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but it’s a good way to meet to meet the 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity recommendation from CDC. Anywhere between 5,000 to 12,500 steps is great for healthy adults.
Based on a guide cited by the Pacific Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults, 5,000 steps per day is your starting point if you have a sedentary lifestyle. Those who are active to highly active should start between 10,000 to 12,500 steps per day.
Adding Steps to Your Day
With these figures, how can you find ways to easily add steps to your day?
- Take every chance to use the stairs or walk uphill.
At home, in your office, or at the mall, take the stairs. While walking, choose to walk on a uphill path. It’s not just about the number of steps you make, but also the effort you exert. Walking uphill or taking the stairs helps strengthen your leg muscles.
- Talk to your co-workers instead of emailing.
It is easier to talk to people through email or chat. If you need to talk to a colleague, skip the email, chat, or phone and walk up to that person’s work station.
- Volunteer to get lunch or eat your lunch outside the office.
Many office workers eat their lunch in their office pantry. Choose to eat out or if this option is not possible, reserve 15 minutes of your lunch time for post-lunch walking. Take a quick 5-minute break every hour and walk to get a glass of water.
- Go shopping instead of ordering online.
Online shopping is quick and convenient, but shopping at a mall for 2 hours or more will give you a quick and easy opportunity to add a 2,000 or more steps to your day.
- Walk in place.
When doing something that you’d normally do while sitting or standing, like watching your favorite TV show, working on your computer, cooking or brushing your teeth, try walking in place. Consider getting a treadmill desk, which will help you walk while getting things done.
- Always choose the long way.
When you’re walking home or you’re walking to go to the restroom, choose the long route. When parking your car, choose a space that’s far from the entrance to your destination. Take more walking trips than necessary.
- Dance to your favorite music.
Dancing is the body’s natural response to music and rhythm. But ask yourself, when was the last time you really let go and danced to your favorite music? Dancing is another fun way to multiply your steps and shake the stress away.
- Be a kid again and play.
Go outside and play with kids. Playing tag or hide and seek quickly increases your step count.
Reaching 10,000 steps every day sure is a challenge, but with creativity and determination, you can achieve it. The key is simply to take every opportunity to move.