One of the simplest and most effective ways to improve your health is to increase your daily steps.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 10,000 steps per day, but is that too much or too low for you?
If you’re currently far below 10,000 steps per day, it’s not a good idea to ramp up to that amount quickly as it can cause overuse injuries. If you’re very fit and athletic, 10,000 steps may be too low for you.
The best way to personalize your goal is to use a smart watch or a pedometer to track your current walking habits. Wherever you currently are, add 1000 steps to that number and allow your body to adjust. If your body tolerates the increase, add another 1000 steps per day in two weeks. Gradually increase to 10,000 steps or the goal you have set for yourself.
Also, consider that there will be a point of diminishing return. You will want to ensure you are not neglecting other fitness components like strength training and/or mobility to get more steps in. Make sure your program is balanced. Walking is a great activity to start with and once you are consistently hitting your walking goal of 10,000 daily steps (or whatever value is appropriate for you), instead of increasing beyond that value, add in other fitness activities instead.
Getting to 10,000 steps, equivalent to about 5 miles of walking, can be a challenge for many so here are some tips to easily get to that number:
Take a walk when you wake up before getting ready for the day. Even 10 minutes is a great way to start the day.
Take a walk after dinner.
Get up and walk around during TV commercials.
Walk while brushing your teeth.
Set an alarm on your computer and do a lap or two around your house or office every hour.
Schedule walking meetings with co-workers.
Walk to your co-worker’s desk instead of emailing or calling.
Park at the edge of the parking lot.
Park a block away from your destination.
Walk to do errands.
Schedule a hike with family or friends on the weekend.
Buy your groceries at the grocery store versus having them delivered.
Bring your groceries into your house using multiple trips.
Take more frequent trips to the grocery store versus just once per week.
Walk your dog regularly. If you don’t have a dog, consider volunteering to walk a neighbor’s dog or volunteering to walk a dog at an animal shelter.
Walk while making phone calls.
Walk while listening to a podcast.
Walk while watching your kids’ sporting events.
Walk at the airport while waiting instead of sitting since you’ll be sitting for an extended time on the plane.
Take the stairs or escalator whenever possible.
Being intentional with your daily movements will make getting to 10,000 steps a walk in the park, literally.
Yours in health & fitness,