Most medical and fitness experts agree that 10,000 steps a day is a great target for a number of health benefits, but sometimes it can be hard to get there. If your daily walk is leaving you a bit short of your goal, a few extra steps here and there can really add up with just a little effort. Of course, you can always take the stairs instead of the elevator, or park your car further away from your destination. If you’ve thought of those ideas and you’re still looking to increase your step count, here are a few more unique ideas to get you moving.
Walk and Talk
Talking on the phone—or worse, waiting on hold—can take up a lot of time. Use that time wisely by getting up and walking around while you chat. It doesn’t matter where you go. You can walk in circles around your office or pace back and forth through your living room. Get a glass of water or take care of a quick task in another room. Just make it a rule that you don’t sit while you are talking on the phone. If your office phone has a cord that keeps you tethered, stand up and march in place! It’s especially important to stand up and walk for a minute or two every hour if you sit for long periods of time. A phone call is a great time to do it!
Use Commercial Breaks
If you’re watching your favorite show, stand up during the commercials and walk in place. Silly as it sounds, studies have shown it’s effective and those extra steps can add up. On average, a one-hour show has between 11 and 15 minutes of commercials. Since even the most casual walkers usually clock about 100 steps per minute, that could mean over 1,000 more steps by the time your show is over. So resist the urge to fast-forward and use commercials to your advantage.
If you’re watching your shows on a streaming service with no commercials, you can still get active while watching. Try to take a short walk between episodes, as binge-watching can lead to some serious sedentary behavior. Don’t skip the opening and closing credits – take a walk around the room while they’re on. There are many ways to get an in-home cardio workout – just get moving using whatever space that you can!
Listen to your next book
Most of us love a great story, so why not find a format where you can walk and still get in your entertainment fix? Next time you find a book you’re interested in, try buying the audiobook instead and listen while you’re walking around your house or around the park. Podcasts are a great free alternative as well. From news to self-help to celebrity talk to serials, there’s a podcast for you. Just grab your phone, a nice pair of headphones, walk and listen.
Set periodic alarms on your phone or computer to remind you to get up and walk around when you’re working or browsing social media. Walk to the drinking fountain or the kitchen for some water, then take the long way back to your desk, or even take a short walk outside. These reminders to get some water and move can help you stay hydrated and squeeze in a few extra steps through your day. Alarms can be especially helpful when you’re doing less-valuable tasks like browsing social media. Sometimes a gentle reminder is all we need to break the spell, log out and make better use of our time, like walking!
Walking can also boost your creativity and energy, which can be very useful at work. Setting an alarm as a gentle reminder, or at least remembering to walk every 30 minutes or every hour can help you be more productive and more energetic on the job.
Walk a Dog
Owning a dog gives you a very strong motivation to get out and walk. Your dog will make sure to remind you if you don’t feel up to it! While this is a no-brainer for dog owners, you can still do this one even if you don’t have a pup of your own. Offer to walk a neighbor’s dog, or better yet, visit your local animal shelter and volunteer to walk a shelter dog. It’ll give you both an opportunity to add a few more steps, and you’ll probably make the dog’s day.
With a little creativity, you can find plenty of unique and fun ways to help boost your daily step count and reach your goals. Walk in place while brushing your teeth, make multiple trips to bring groceries inside instead of carrying everything at once, stroll around the parking lot while you’re getting the oil changed in your car. Look for ways to walk in every situation and you might surprise yourself when you check those steps at the end of the day.
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