Walking 10,000 steps daily has become a popular and trendy fitness goal. The thought behind this idea is that walking 10,000 steps or about 5 miles is enough activity (for most people) to maintain their weight. Walking or taking more steps is a great idea because it's a low-impact exercise with similar health benefits to more intense exercise like jogging.Most health professionals consider any extra activity - taking more steps or otherwise - over your normal level to be beneficial to your health. Aiming for an extra 2,000 steps a day (about 1 mile), can help increase your overall activity and help get you closer to a goal of 10,000 steps daily.
Part One of Three:
Adding More Steps to Your Day
1Walk your commute. If you're able, an easy way to add steps to your day is by walking to work or increasing the amount of steps it currently takes to get to work.
- When you walk to work or increase the steps of your commute, you're automatically adding 2 doses of extra steps to your day. Your walk to work and from work can add a significant amount of steps to your day.
- If you take the bus or subway, try getting off a stop or two earlier. You may need to get up a bit earlier to allow for the extra time spent walking.
- If you have a safe area to walk with side walks, try walking to your office instead of driving.
- If you can't walk to work and there's no bus, try parking farther away - maybe in the end of the parking lot, across the street, or on the top floor of the parking garage.
2Talk a walking lunch break. Since most people get about 30 minutes for a quick lunch break, this provides another great opportunity to add in some more steps to your day.
- Taking some time from your lunch break to walk can be beneficial for two reasons - one, you get in more steps and two, you get a nice mental break from your job.
- Take 10 or 15 minutes of your lunch break and go for a walk. Try walking outside, doing laps around your building or inside your building or walking to see co-workers in different departments.
- Some studies have even shown that walking right after a meal - even for a short 15 minute walk - helped people manage their weight better and improved insulin effectiveness.
3Skip the elevators and escalators. In many office buildings, condo or apartment buildings or department stores, there are multiple floors. The most common method of going from one floor to the other? The elevator.
- Although taking the elevator or escalator is an easy and quick way of moving from floor to floor, it keeps you standing still instead of moving, walking and taking extra steps. If you typically take the elevator, go for the stairs instead.
- If you live in a big apartment building or work in a tall office building, consider taking the elevator halfway up and then taking the stairs the rest of the way. This helps you get more steps in, but helps minimize joint or knee pain in those who have injuries or arthritis.
4Walk more at the store. Think about how many times during your week you stop by the grocery store, a department store, or pharmacy. Instead of going right to the item you want to purchase, get in more steps by walking the whole store.
- Take the opportunity at the grocery store to get in more steps. Instead of heading right to the eggs and bread sections, go up and down every aisle.
- If you're at a department store, browse through the entire store and take the stairs to additional levels if they're available.
- While you're waiting for your medication to be filled at the pharmacy, go walk up and down every aisle instead of sitting or standing by the pharmacy counter.
5Do more errands during your day. Instead of sitting all day in front of your computer at work, find reasons to get up and walk around. Even if you're only getting in an extra 50 steps, each time you do this, it can help add up to your 2,000.
- Instead of emailing your co-worker, get up and walk to their desk and give them a post-it note with information.
- Drink more water. You'll need to get up and go to the bathroom more often and need to get up and re-fill your water bottle more often.
- If available, use the bathroom on another level at your office (or home) and take the stairs. Or use a restroom further down the hallway.
- Even if you packed your lunch, get up and go to your office's cafeteria with a co-worker or walk with them to other restaurants.
6Consider walking a dog. Walking the dog is a great way to get in extra steps during the day. Dogs need exercise during the day just as much as humans do.
- If you have your own dog, plan to take him for a walk everyday. Maybe you plan to go out before work or school, or take him for a quick walk when you get home to end your day.
- If you do not own a dog, you could always speak to friends or neighbors that do and ask if you can help them out by walking their dog. Many people get home late or leave really early for work and may need help walking their dog.
- If you're friendly with neighbors ask if you can join them on their walks with their dogs.
7Go to a local park. Many neighborhoods aren't necessarily the safest place to walk or there may not be any sidewalks. If you live in a place where walking locally isn't the easiest or safest, consider going elsewhere to get in your extra steps.
- On your way home from work, stop by a local park and take a few laps around the playgrounds or sports fields. Pack your walking shoes with you so you have them ready when you leave your office.
- Bring your whole family to the park. Your kids can play on the playground and you can walk around as they play.
8Make the most of sports practices. If you have children who are involved in sports, it can be difficult to find the time to walk when you're carting them between school and sports practices.
- If your child is involved in sports, spend the time waiting for practice to be over wisely. You can take the hour or so to get in steps or an exercise session.
- If your child plays football, soccer or even lacrosse walk laps around the field as they practice.
- If your child plays an indoor sport, take laps around their school building or on the track until practice is over.
9Split up your steps. Getting in a whole extra 2,000 steps everyday - or about 1 mile - is a lot of extra movement. It can be difficult getting in all of this activity in one shot, so splitting up your activity during the day can make this goal easier.
- If taking the time to add in 2,000 steps all at once doesn't fit into your schedule, think of how you can split it up into smaller bits throughout the day.
- Try writing out your schedule and seeing where you have a few minutes to walk or times where you can take the stairs, or park farther away.
- Or you can split the steps up by a timeline too. For example, take an extra 1,000 steps before lunch and another 1,000 steps before dinner. This can make it easier to digest getting in all those extra steps.
- You may also want to consider splitting up the time you spend walking. Maybe you do a 10 minute walk before work, a 10 minute walk on your lunch break and a 10 minute walk after dinner.
Part Two of Three:
Tracking Your Progress
1Set a walking goal. If you're interested in increasing any type of activity, it'll be helpful to set up a goal for yourself. This will give you something to measure against as you make progress.
- Obviously your goal might be to add in 2,000 more steps a day. But how many steps do you currently get? In addition to saying you want to add in more steps, figure out the total step goal you're aiming for.
- In your goal planning, you should determine how many days a week you'll be attempting to meet your goal. It might be everyday, but be specific.
- Also include information on how you're planning to meet your goal. For example, I will add 2,000 steps daily by walking to work and taking the stairs at the office.
- Also make sure to reevaluate your goal from time to time to make sure it's still reasonable and realistic.
2Start an exercise journal. Another way to check in and track your progress is an exercise journal. This can help you track your goal and see what's working and not working.
- Write down your goal in your journal and list out the different ways you think you'll be able to add more steps to your day.
- Then take your journal with you or fill it out at night with what activities you did throughout the day that helped you move more and take more steps.
- Also note how many more steps you're taking each day. This can help you see if you're actually meeting your 2,000 step goal.
- If you notice you're consistently not meeting your goal, you'll need to go back to finding more ways to take more steps each day.
3Buy a pedometer. If you're interested in tracking your steps, you'll need to purchase a pedometer. Otherwise it'll be next to impossible to count each step you take throughout the day.
- There are a variety of pedometers available on the market. Anything from watches, wrist bands and clip-on pedometers. Consider doing some research on which option is best for you.
- Wrist bands and watches are popular. They're easy to wear, feel like regular jewelry or function as a watch. They're fairly accurate and easy to use.
- The clip-on pedometers are also a good bet - and they are many times cheaper than a watch. However, be careful not to lose them or forget them on your clothes.
4Download a walking app. If you're not interested in spending money on a pedometer, you might want to consider downloading a walking or pedometer app on your smart phone.
- Many apps are very inexpensive and some are even free. They're easy to use and can measure your steps very similarly to a pedometer.
- In addition, some of these apps may help track calories and other measures in addition to your total steps.
- The downside of these apps are that you need to carry your phone with you at all times whenever you're walking in order for the app to track your steps.
Part Three of Three:
Staying Motivated with Walking
1Create a walking group. If you're looking for additional motivation to walk more or take more steps, consider going with a friend or walking group. Many people find it easier to go with others than alone.
- There are many walking groups that you can find online or that are local to your town. Join one of these groups and go walk with them as often as you can.
- If you cannot find a walking group, consider making one of your own. Maybe you grab some neighbors to walk with in the evenings or co-workers to take a walking lunch breach with.
2Join a walking or fitness app. Some pedometer apps or apps that are tied to some brands of pedometers have programs and challenges through their app to help encourage you to walk more and take more steps.
- If you purchased a pedometer watch or wristband, consider downloading the corresponding app. Many of these fitness apps have challenges you can participate in, will help you set goals, and can even help you challenge friends or see your friend's activities.
- Sometimes you can even create online walking groups with other friends and family members in different states. Or, design your own challenges among your friends.
3Set reminders to get up and move. If you're having a difficult time finding a time and place to get more steps in and then actually remembering to do take those steps, try setting reminders for yourself.
- An easy way to remind yourself to get in more steps is by setting an alarm on your phone. Maybe have it go off every hour or two so you're cued to get up and move.
- Or set up a reminder via your office email system or from your phone that you have a "lunch meeting" of a 15 minute walk.
- You may even consider putting post-it notes up for yourself. You can put them on your computer screen, fridge, mirror or dashboard of your car.
4Set up a reward for yourself. To make meeting your 2,000 step goal even more enticing, try setting up some fun and exciting rewards for yourself. Studies show this can help you stay motivated.
- Set up rewards for yourself if you meet your goal for a certain amount of time. For example, after 2 weeks of meeting your step goal each day, you purchase 5 more songs for your walking playlist.
- You can also set up bigger rewards for bigger goals. If you walked 10,000 steps daily for 2 whole months, maybe you purchase yourself a new pedometer.
- If you're interested in losing weight, don't set up food-related rewards (like a dinner out or a special dessert). This may set you off track for your weight goals.
- The goal of 10,000 steps daily is just an estimate of how much activity the average person may need to maintain their weight. You may need more or less depending on your age, gender and weight.
- Remember, adding an extra 2,000 steps each day is the equivalent of about 1 mile. Increasing a mile a day each week can help you get to higher levels of activity in the long-term.