Life is busy and we feel like we are always on the go, however, most of us are spending more time than ever in front of computer screens and seated with our technology. That means less time up and about, exercising and keeping active. This might leave you wondering how to get more steps in a day.
Lately, I have been working hard to increase my step count and simply be more active every single day. Not only do I feel better for it, but my energy levels and productivity is up too.
Overall, it’s a win! So I wanted to share some of the ways you too can increase your step count!
Why It Is Beneficial To Be More Active
The first question you might have is, “Why should I even care about getting more steps in a day?”
And that’s a valid question! After all, if you’re not a competitive person or someone who exercises for fun, what difference does it make in how many steps you take?
But being active has a lot of benefits that go beyond sports and competition. In fact, research has shown that being active can:
- Help you control your weight
- Lower your risk of developing heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes
- Strengthen your bones and muscles
- Improve your core strength, which can help reduce back pain and other ailments
- Improve your mental health and mood
- Help to clear your mind when taking regular breaks throughout the day
- Improve social connection by getting out and about
What Is The Recommended Number Of Steps You Should Take Each Day?
The answer to this question depends on a few different factors, including your age, weight, and fitness level. There is no one size fits all and if you haven’t been active for a long time, you might want to start with a lower goal and increase it over time.
The average adult in the United States takes just 3000 to 4000 steps a day, which is well below the recommended amount.
The recommendation is that, on average, adults should aim for 10,000 steps a day. This is about 5 miles or 8 kilometres. And while this might seem like a lot, remember that it doesn’t have to be all at once!
HOW TO GET MORE STEPS IN A DAY
If you’re looking to increase your step count, there are a few things you can do to make it happen without needing a drastic amount of extra time in your day.
When I was working my corporate career, although it was a professional role, it involved a lot of walking. My daily step count was usually massive, and it was pretty easy to stay in shape.
Fast forward to now, I work at home, often in front of my computer. I am not so active and it is a lot more challenging to keep my 20 something figure.
Oh yes, go away you dreaded 30s! So these simple changes definitely help me keep the step count up.
1 – Go for a Walk
This one is pretty self-explanatory, however, it also takes a lot of motivation to build a daily walk into your routine if it isn’t something you’ve already been doing.
I know for me it was much easier to just get home from the school run and sit at my computer first thing. These days, I start my day with a walk.
You might get a laugh though. When I do my morning walk, I don’t often leave the house!
I am lucky enough to have a fairly open plan house so I actually get home from dropping my eldest at school, grab my iPhone and press play on the latest biz book I’m listening to on Audible or podcast, and I walk around my house!
I’m sure it would be hilarious to see and my kids often ask ‘What are you doing mum?’ but it has been the best thing! I get sooooo much done these days once I finish my listen and walk.
So don’t feel overwhelmed by this. Make it work for you!
2 – Exercise While You Watch TV
Be more intentional about how you use your down time. For example, if you commonly spend an hour or two watching TV at night, that’s two hours you could be getting steps in without even realising it.
How? Invest in a small exercise bike or treadmill if you have the room and use it while you watch TV. Don’t have the budget for exercise equipment? That’s okay. Just step on the spot.
You can also get a set of dumbbells to have near the TV so you can do some light weights work while you catch up on your favourite shows. This is a great way to increase activity without walking.
3 – Take the Long Way
Skip the short cuts whenever you can. Take the long way around instead. This isn’t always convenient or possible, but when you can, embrace those extra distances.
This might mean getting off the bus a stop earlier or parking further away from the entrance of your workplace or shops. Those extra steps from the parking lot will add up over time in the same way as doing the grocery shopping in person compared to online grocery shopping.
After school, we often walk the long way around, through the school instead of out the front gate to the car park.
My youngest likes to go this way anyway as it means she sees lots of other kids. Such a social butterfly, but I don’t complain because it means we are doing some extra walking every day when we do school run.
4 – Take the Stairs
This is an oldie but a goodie. Skip the lift and take the stairs whenever you can. Of course, you’re not going to walk up the stairs of a 100-storey building, but a handful of stairs are always a good idea.
Or if you do work in a high-storey building, consider getting out of the lift on a different floor, a couple of levels earlier and walking the stairs for the rest of the way.
Stairs are a great way to give your steps a little bit of extra resistance, just like walking up a hill. Plus you’re working that butt into great shape too! BONUS!
5 – Play Time
Kids and pets probably do 5 times the number of steps most of us adults do. They are always on the go! How I envy their energy. But gosh it feels good to join in!
Get involved with the kids’ and pets’ playtime as often as you can. Take the dog for a play at the local dog park and throw a ball around or run around the backyard with the kids burning up energy and wearing them out.
Dog owners have the perfect opportunity to increase their step count by giving their pets extra physical activity. This can be a quick walk around the blog and it all makes a difference for you and your pet.
Not only will you get a wonderful endorphin boost while spending time with your loved ones… you will also increase your step count easily!
Find some great tips on how to exercise with your toddler. Some of these ideas would be great for getting your older kids involved in exercise too!
RELATED READING – BEST TOYS FOR ACTIVE KIDS
6 – Steps Tracker
Sometimes we need a little extra motivation and accountability, plus some friendly competition does wonders too. A step tracker is great for giving you insight into how many steps a day you are getting and whether you are hitting your daily goal.
I have a FitBit and it was something my hubby thought was pretty silly when I was determined to get one. While I wasn’t very active but for me, it was about giving me a reminder to get more active.
I check it several times a day and work hard to reach my daily steps goals. If I am running behind on steps, most days it is motivation enough to kick me into gear and start moving.
The other thing I love about my FitBit is that you can challenge your friends with steps.
There are a lot of us that do a weekly battle with who can get the most steps and have a little bit of fun stirring each other up via the FitBit app too. A bit of healthy competition can be great to keep you motivated.
Especially if you’ve got a competitive streak and I definitely do! All in good fun!
I’m not sure what the apps are like for the other types of fitness trackers, but definitely, something to check out and get involved with if you’ve got one!
7 – Buddy Up
And that brings us to the last tip for how to increase your step count! FRIENDS!
There is no greater way to get fit than if you are doing it with someone else. Whether it be your bestie, your neighbour or even your hubby, why not buddy up with someone and go for a regular walk together or a weekend hike.
Not only are you getting active, but you’re enjoying the quality time too! Friends are the best tool for getting fit!
Other Ways To Boost Your Daily Activity
In addition to walking more, there are a few other things you can do to increase your activity levels and get closer to your 10,000 steps goal or simply get active without walking.
- Try low-impact physical activity such as swimming or aqua aerobics (this is one of my favourite ways to exercise)
- Take up a new hobby that gets you moving such as dancing, gardening, or hiking
- Do household chores such as vacuuming, gardening or mowing the lawn
- Take the dog for a walk (or walk to the park by yourself if you don’t have a furry friend)
- Join a social sports team such as touch football, netball or basketball
- Start riding a bike instead of driving when possible
The key is to find an activity that you enjoy and that you can stick to. If you don’t like running, don’t force yourself to do it just because everyone else is.
How To Get More Steps At Work
If you have a desk job, it can be difficult to get in your goal step counts for the day. But there are a few things you can do to get more steps in your day while at work.
First, take regular breaks throughout the day to walk around. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, getting up and moving or a trip to the water fountain to refill your drink bottle (since drinking water is important too!).
Second, if possible, try to avoid using the elevator and take the stairs instead. This is a great way to get some extra steps in without needing to add a lot of extra time to your day. In fact, sometimes it’s quicker if you have a slow elevator at work.
Go for a walk during your lunch break, even if it’s just around the block.
And, if you can, try to walk to work or park further away from your workplace so you have to walk a little bit more
Get creative and suggest walking meetings if they are one on one and you have a coworker that shares your fitness goals. This is a nice change of scenery to the conference room and you can use voice memos if you need to record meeting notes.
There are a lot of small things you can do throughout the day to do more walking and get closer to your goal of 10,000 steps. And while it might take some effort to get into the habit of walking more, it’s worth it for your health! Both physical health and mental health!
Moving more and enjoying the extra activity in your day is also a great way to bust stress and increase your overall sense of wellbeing so there are a gazillion reasons to increase your step count every day!
What is your favourite way to increase your step count? Share how you get active!
Monday 15th of October 2018
This is so true and very important no matter where you are. I like to travel because it forces me to get out and walk. But when I'm home I try to keep up that pace by changing up my walking routes and trying to get out in nature as much as I can.