How to Get Your 10,000 Steps In

Lady Walking

It’s official!  You’re the proud owner of shiny new fitness tracker.  The little voice inside your head is bugging you to be more active.  Now what? The good news is these devices come pre-programmed with a 10,000 step per day goal, a number said to help reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stress and more.  Sure, you can easily hit that number when it’s gym day, but it can be a bit more difficult on your off days. This hurdle can be overcome by making a few little changes in your daily routine.

Why are 10,000 steps the magic number?  Turns out the American Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have endorsed this number to help keep you fit and active enough to fight off many diseases and potential health risks.  You don't have to act like a robot and hit this goal all at once every day because 1) you’re not a machine and 2) our days are busy and hitting this goal is far more manageable completing it in smaller increments.

Here are a few ideas to help make small changes and help you get those steps in:

 

Walk to work (Not necessarily the whole way)

You have a new goal and it’s to increase your steps. Start by walking to work. Clearly that’s not possible for most of us as we are commuters, but that shouldn’t stop you from walking.  Get off the bus one stop earlier or park your car a little farther from your destination to increase those steps. A little extra effort on your part goes a long way.

 

Take the stairs

Once you step into your office building, or any building, don’t make a dash for that closing elevator door.  Head straight for the stairs and use them when leave as well. Who knows, you may even get out the building faster.

 

Take a break

Don’t just sit at your desk, or anywhere else, all day.  Sitting all day does not create success for good health, so make sure to take a break and walk a few laps around the building to rack up some steps and get that blood flowing.  A little “walking” break can make a tremendous difference.

 

Smaller Pieces

Hitting that 10,000 step goal is a difficult task, no matter how you look at it.  Try breaking it up into smaller chunks and you may find the task a little less daunting.  Set small goals throughout the day like 2,000 steps before work, 2,000 late morning, 2,000 during a lunch walk, 2,000 late afternoon and 2,000 in the evening during a walk.  This could make hitting your goal much easier

 

Don’t rush it

Yes, the little voice inside your head is telling you to hit 10,000 steps a day at any cost. And your new fitness tracker is flashing, beeping or buzzing remining you it’s time to get moving in order to hit your 10,000 steps.  This does not mean you have to. Especially if you’re new to fitness and beginning your journey towards a healthier lifestyle. Trying to do too much too quickly can backfire and cause physical injuries. If you have not or are not currently exercising, aim for 2,500 to 5,000 steps a day as more appropriate goal.  Anything more than what you are currently doing will be beneficial in the long run. Once you begin your journey and feel comfortable, you can then progress gradually to that magical 10,000 step goal.

 

Remind yourself why you’re doing this

We all have those days when doing anything but move around sounds like a better plan.  When those days occur and the self-debating starts, remind yourself of your goals. Ask yourself; why am I trying to be more physically active?  The connection to a bigger goal, whether you’re trying to be healthy, improve your quality of life or trying to be a positive role model can be a powerfully motivating.