You’ve likely heard that getting in 10,000 steps a day is good for your health. But if you’re like most Americans, that seems like a pretty lofty goal. In fact, the average daily step count of people in the U.S. is under 5,000 steps, according to research.
There are many good reasons to make the effort to get in more steps. Adding more steps throughout the day, no matter how you do it, helps you keep your heart healthier, maintain your weight and prevent diabetes. Even if you’re not sweating it out at the gym, extra steps add up – and if you do enough of them, they can add up to 10,000 or more.
If you’re determined to be above average and reach that 10,000 steps-a-day goal, here are 10 tips that can help you get there.
- Do it one minute at a time. Every minute you walk adds about 70 – 130 steps to your total, depending on how fast you move. So park your car farther from your destination. Visit a co-worker’s desk instead of emailing. Take your dog for a walk. Make multiple trips in the house when you’ve gone shopping.
- Walk faster. You can get in about 100 steps at a moderate pace but as many as 130 steps at a more vigorous pace. So the faster you move, the more steps you get in the same amount of time.
- Dance while you __ (fill in the blank). When you cook, clean or watch TV, get up and dance. Just one song’s worth of dancing can have you clocking in about 400 steps.
- Do some chores. Whether you grab a lawnmower to cut the lawn or a vacuum to clean the floors, you’ll be cleaning up in your step count, too. If you spend 15 minutes doing these chores, you can rack up 1,500 – 2,000 steps.
- Opt for the stairs. Instead of the elevator, choose the stairs and you’ll add about 30-40 steps per flight.
- Peruse the aisles. Headed to the grocery store? Walk up and down each aisle even if you don’t need something. Or walk around the whole store before you start throwing things in your cart.
- Stroll around the mall. Have nothing to do on a rainy day? Instead of sitting on the couch watching Netflix, head to the mall and window shop. You may get so distracted by what you see that you won’t even realize how much you walk. Just don’t spend too much money!
- Pace while you chat. Need to take a phone call? Instead of sitting at your desk or the couch at home, walk around while you talk. Even if there’s nowhere to go, pacing in circles adds to your daily step totals.
- Increase in increments. If you’re currently very sedentary, don’t expect to suddenly be able to walk 10,000 steps overnight. Instead set a goal to increase the number of steps you walk each day. Adding 300 – 500 steps every day can quickly get you to your goal without overdoing it.
- Wear a fitness tracker or pedometer. Many people find it easier to increase the number of steps they walk when they can keep track of them throughout the day.
Walking is one of the easiest ways to keep your body healthy. You can do it anywhere and at any time. You don’t need special equipment. And you can do it even while you’re doing other things you need to do. You’ll need some focus and determination but it is definitely doable to get in 10,000 steps a day – and well worth the effort to do so.