With the increasing popularity of health and fitness tracking devices, Americans are becoming more entuned to the idea of walking 10,000 steps every day. Both the American Heart Association and Centers for Disease Control endorse the goal as a means to help individuals stay fit, but the number of steps itself might seem insurmountable to someone who is tethered to sedentary obligations for much of the day.
Walking 10,000 steps every day might actually be simpler than it seems, however. It may merely take a steady and consistent approach, requisite motivation and a few simple tricks.
Force yourself to walk where you otherwise would not
Since a 10,000-step total is not a small distance to cover, it is perhaps not the wisest or most practical approach to attempt to achieve it all at once. As such, U.S. News & World Report recommends a number of methods that one can undertake throughout the course of a day to achieve the 10,000-step goal.
If you drive to work on a daily basis and find yourself hunting for the spot closest to the building, instead give yourself an extra five minutes, park in a spot further away, and take more time walking to the office. Once you are in the building, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and be sure that you take a five-minute break to walk a little ways every hour if possible.
If you are in a supervisorial role, consider bringing your team along for walking meetings. When it comes time for your lunch break, pack a small and portable meal and spend the hour walking.
When you get home, take your dog for a walk instead of letting him out in the yard. When doing household tasks like washing dishes or preparing dinner, consider walking in place or pacing while doing so. After you have eaten dinner, consider going for an evening stroll, and walk the length of your home while brushing your teeth before bed.
Motivate yourself properly
There may be no better way to pad your daily step number than by breaking that number down into more digestible bites. Sparkpeople.com recommends attempting to parse out steps into thirds – walking in the morning, day and evening – or trying to work in 1,000 steps every hour during the work day.
Bringing a friend in on the charge of walking 10,000 steps is also effective at amplifying motivation, creating a naturally nurturing environment that allows for mutual encouragement. If you and your partner like to catch up with one another after work, consider doing it on a 15 – 20 minute walk around the neighborhood when weather permits.
Ultimately, it is important to remember that walking 10,000 steps a day is only part of the larger picture of health. To ensure the effectiveness of this practice, couple it with regular exercise and healthy eating.