There’s still a debate over whether you really need 10,000 steps a day to be healthy. In actuality, you might be able to see the same health benefits by walking as few as 4,000 steps a day. Yet, there’s just something about that magic number, 10,000, that we all desperately want to reach.
There are a few easy ways to walk 10,000 steps. Using a fitness tracker can help you keep track. You can take short breaks during the day, do chores around the house, use your commercial time to exercise, and walk more than you need to (park further at the store).
10,000 steps a day is an incredible goal. Yet, it can be a little tricky if you currently live a sedentary lifestyle. So, let’s go into a little more detail and discuss seven of our best tips for walking 10,000 steps a day.
1. Use some sort of fitness tracker.
You don’t realize how little you move during the course of the day until you actually record your movement habits.
Even though there’s still a little debate over the accuracy of fitness trackers, they’re pretty useful when it comes to giving you a little insight into your daily activities.
In fact, a 2007 study concluded that wearing a pedometer increases step count by an average of 27%.
A lot of fitness trackers also have notification features. You can choose how many steps you’d like to walk per hour and, if you haven’t met that goal near the end of the hour, the tracker will vibrate to remind you to move.
Plus, you don’t have to spend a ton of money (or any money, for that matter). You can download free pedometer apps on your smartphone and record your fitness data that way.
2. Take breaks during the day.
One of the biggest misconceptions about getting 10,000 steps a day is that you have to intentionally go for long walks to achieve your goal.
That’s not true, even in the slightest. Even walking a few minutes here and there will help you get closer to your 10,000 step goal.
But, just how many steps are we talking about?
Here’s a look at how many steps you can walk per minute at different speeds.
- 60 steps per minute at 2 miles per hour
- 80 steps per minute at 3 miles per hour
- 100 steps per minute at 5 miles per hour
With this data, it’ll take anywhere between 10 and 17 minutes to add an extra 1,000 steps to your daily step count.
At a brisk pace, you can tack on an extra 5,000 steps spread out over an hour’s time.
So, make it a point to get up from your desk and walk around here and there. You don’t have to go far, as every minute counts in some way.
3. Go for a walk or run.
Just how many steps you’re taking per mile depends on how long your stride is and how quickly you’re moving. Since running involves a much longer stride, you’ll cover fewer steps a mile when running, as compared to walking.
Walking a mile usually requires about 2,000 steps (or more).
When you speed up to about a 10-minute mile, you’re looking at around 1,700 steps per mile.
Walking or running is the perfect way to add to your step count in bulk. Setting aside 30 minutes or even an hour can get you 4,000 to well over 10,000 steps, all at once.
So, if your step count is less than impressive near the end of the day, add in a short walk or run.
4. Walk, even when you don’t have to.
As humans, we love when things are convenient.
The downside is: Convenience usually doesn’t help our health and fitness levels.
Here’s what we’re talking about.
- Park further away in parking lots, which can easily add a few hundred steps to your total
- Use the stairs instead of an elevator, which is an extra 10 to 20 steps per flight
- Go down every aisle at the supermarket, which can add hundreds of steps
- Take more trips (for basically anything), which can double or triple your steps sometimes
Every little bit counts, especially when your goal is getting at least 10,000 steps per day.
You don’t have to walk an hour or two straight to reach these goals, as such minor tips like those we just provided can really improve your step count.
5. Do chores around the house.
A lot of people struggle to reach the 10,000 step goal because they focus on intentional walking. If you live a pretty busy lifestyle, it can be a little difficult to set aside an hour or more a day just to walking and increasing your step count.
So, get steps in by doing things you already do (or need to do).
When you’re doing a full cleaning of the house (vacuuming, cleaning floors, dusting, etc.), you’ll find yourself going from one room to another and then back again.
Before you know it, an hour has passed, your house is perfectly clean, and your step count is now in the thousands.
It’s super easy and it’s something you were already going to do in the first place.
6. Get moving during commercial breaks.
In America, the average commercial break is around 3 to 4 minutes long.
Given the actual runtime of most television shows, you’re probably spending about 15 minutes an hour sitting around watching commercials (and wasting your time).
Commercial breaks are the perfect time to get moving and increase your step count.
You can pace, do jumping jacks, walk a loop around your living room, or literally anything else to get yourself moving. Even at a 2 mile an hour pace (which is pretty slow), you can add an extra 900 steps an hour while you’re watching television.
Better yet, why not just hop on the treadmill while you watch TV and really boost your step count?
7. Play with your pets or children.
When your pets or children are old enough, you can usually send them off on their own to play (or even play with one another).
While it’s definitely more convenient, you’re missing out on a ton of exercise when you stay inside cooped up instead.
The best part about playing with your pets or your kids is that you don’t even realize you’re getting exercise while you’re doing it.
Kicking the soccer ball around, playing fetch, or even engaging in a friendly game of tag can add hundreds of steps to your current count. Plus, your kids and your pets will enjoy spending time with you.
Getting 10,000 steps a day is definitely a little difficult if you’re not living an active lifestyle, but that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible.
You just have to make the effort to walk and get moving, both intentionally and unintentionally.
If you want a better chance of success, don’t decide on a goal of 10,000 steps just yet. Take note of how many steps you currently walk per day. Next week, try to add a few hundred steps a day every day, and so on.