It is estimated that most of us walk between 3000 and 5000 steps a day, which may sound a lot, but it is actually well under the recommended amount.
The idea of walking 10,000 steps a day (roughly equivalent to 5 miles), can be traced back to Japanese walking clubs in the 1960s, but according to the British Heart Foundation, this amount of walking can actually give you a healthy heart and reduce body fat. So it is not just another fitness fad.
The big question is, how can you actually hit this target every single day if you are engaged in full-time employment and lead a busy life?
Well it’s not easy, but here are 10 useful tips that will help you achieve this goal:
1. Invest In A Fitness Tracker
The first thing you need to do is to invest in a fitness tracker or a pedometer that will actually record how many steps you are taking every day. Otherwise you will simply be guessing how much walking you are doing.
2. Get Up Half An Hour Earlier
If you have very little time in the mornings, there is a very simple way to squeeze in some exercise, and that’s to set your alarm at least half an hour earlier, and go for a walk as soon you are washed and dressed (ideally before you have anything to eat in order to prevent indigestion). You don’t have to go far. Just a quick walk around the block could be enough to cover 1000-2000 steps.
3. Travel On Foot To And From Work
I appreciate that there are many people that face long commutes to work every morning, but if you live quite close to your workplace, this is obviously an easy way to increase the number of steps that you are taking every day. Plus of course you will also be reducing your petrol costs at the same time. If you do have to commute, you can always park further away from the workplace, or leave the bus a stop early and walk the rest of the way.
4. Walk During Your Lunch Break
You can squeeze in a little bit of walking during any of your breaks, depending on how long they are, because as I mentioned earlier, a quick walk around the block could add on another 1000-2000 steps. You can also do this during your lunch break if you prefer because you will generally have more time to go for a quick walk before you have anything to eat.
5. Go For An Evening Stroll
One of the best times of the day is the post-evening meal relaxation period between about 6.30 PM and 8.00 PM, but this is also a great time to go for a nice long walk. If you have already done 4000-5000 steps earlier in the day, you could easily reach your 10,000-step daily target by going for a 45-60 minute stroll in your local area. Then you can relax for the rest of the day after that.
6. Avoid Elevators And Escalators
If you like to visit shopping centers during your breaks or after you have finished work, or if you have evelators at work, it is always a good idea to use the stairs instead. That’s because lumbering up and down stairs all the time is pretty hard work, and because of this, you can forgive yourself if you don’t quite hit your daily target because this will more than make up for it.
7. Walk To The Gym
I always find it funny when people drive to the gym and then spend 30-60 minutes walking on the treadmill, when they could have achieved the same benefits just by walking to the gym instead. So if you regularly visit your local gym and it’s quite nearby, it clearly makes sense to leave the car at home every time you work out. The same applies if you like to drive to the shops or the cinema, for example.
8. Go For Long Walks In The Countryside At The Weekends
If you find that you are struggling to meet your daily targets during the week despite following some of the recommendations listed above, there is an easy way to compensate and that’s to go for long walks in the countryside at the weekends. Countryside walks are obviously a lot more fun than city walks, so drive out to the country and explore the countryside because you may well find that you can easily exceed your 10,000-step target by doing this.
9. Make Walking More Fun
If you are someone that gets bored very easily, you may well find it hard to get anywhere near your target every day. So you need to find a way of making it more fun, and the best way to do this is to listen to some music or your favorite podcasts, or find a partner that you can go out with. You can even join a walking group if you have one of these in your local area.
10. Get A Dog
The final thing you can do in order to hit your 10,000-step target is to get a dog. That’s because dogs obviously need walking every day, so therefore you will be forced to leave your house and go for a stroll, whether you like it or not. As long as you travel a fair distance each time, you should be well on your way to hitting your daily target just by taking your dog out a few times each day.
So as you can see, there are lots of ways that you can get close to this 10,000-steps per day target. It’s important to remember that doing so helps improve your heart health and keeps you slim and healthy because you can use this to motivate yourself when you are feeling lazy.
Don’t beat yourself up if you can only manage 7000-8000 steps per day in the first few weeks, for example. Even this amount will be more than 90% of people are doing.
The key is to gradually increase your activity level each day until you consistently hit this 10,000-step target, by which time you should feel fitter and healthier, and may even have lost a few pounds in the process.