If you’re not hitting your step goal (or you’re aiming for a new, higher goal), one of these common problems may be setting you back. It’s important to set a step goal that motivates you to walk more and get healthier, but sometimes you may find that your step goal is just out of reach. There are many reasons why it may be hard to get steps. Some factors, like the activity level of your job, may be out of your control. You can still get active despite these issues with some planning and creativity, however!
Walking is one of the best ways to stay fit and healthy, but simply wanting to walk more isn’t always enough. Here are some of the reasons you may be falling short of your daily step goal and how to overcome these and get more steps!
You Have a Desk Job
Those who work in service or retail have an easier time hitting their daily goals than those who spend most of their workday confined to an office or desk. If your job requires you to sit in front of a computer for long periods of time, you’ll probably need to go out and get your steps, as opposed to getting your steps in the normal course of your day. But you don’t need to let that stop you from achieving your goals.
Take frequent breaks to walk a bit when you can. If possible, communicate in person rather than forwarding an email. Get active at the office by using your break time and lunch hour to get more steps. Try to stand up and move at least once every hour. Even a 2 minute walk every hour can counteract some of the health risks for sitting long periods of time. You may also want to try using a restroom located on a different floor. Taking restroom breaks on a different floor may not be as convenient, but it is an effective way to increase the number of steps you take during your workweek. It turns out that 10 minutes of walking stairs gives you more energy than half a cup of coffee, but even a 5-minute walk can boost your energy and leave you feeling creative and energized too.
You Park in the Most Convenient Locations
Yes, life gets busy, and you probably have a lot to accomplish in a short amount of time. When you are in a hurry, it’s likely that you park in a spot that is closest to the entrance of your destination. If you have extra time available, you can trade in your comfort for extra steps. Your body will thank you!
You don’t need to find the spot furthest from your destination to increase your step count. Even a parking spot a few cars back will help. Compromise if you need to. Remember that you get more steps on the way in the door, and on your way back to your vehicle. If you’re at a store, you can also try taking one extra lap around before you check out and exit.
You may actually find that you save time by not driving around looking for a good parking spot, so the actual time that you take going to and from your car is essentially the same.
You Lose Your Motivation
Sticking to a goal is difficult when you only have yourself to answer to. It’s easy to get bored or promise yourself that you can make up for missing steps another day. You may need to find a way to keep your fitness goal a bit more interesting. It may also be hard to stay motivated if you aren’t actively tracking your steps, or if you lose track of why you’re walking in the first place (often to get the health benefits of walking).
Join a community of people who have similar goals. Find a friend and engage in a bit of healthy competition. It’s easier to stay motivated when you involve others in your goals and share your progress. If you can’t find a walking buddy, try to at least keep your loved ones involved in your health and fitness goals. Keep friends or family up to date on your progress from time to time, or better yet find an activity that you can share that gets you moving together.
You can also use Pacer’s groups feature to find virtual walking buddies that can encourage you to walk more.
You Spend Your Leisure Time on Passive Entertainment
It’s easy to forget to take more steps when you are enjoying your time spent watching your favorite television programs or catching up with your social media accounts. While it’s tempting to sink into the couch after a long day at work, it’s likely to get in the way of achieving your goals.
Try setting an alarm for a half-hour or even 15 minutes when you’re killing time sitting or lying down. When it goes off, take a step break by walking around the room or even going outside and taking a quick walk. The step break can energize you and will help you avoid losing track of time during unproductive activities.
Better yet, find something to do in your free time that gets you active and entertains you at the same time. A walk in the park is fun, free and gets you steps! Try signing up for a group fitness class, or any activity that gets you off the couch and doing something. You’ll probably feel better at the end of the day knowing you’re helping to get fit and accomplishing something interesting.
A Few More Suggestions to Help You Meet Your Goals
Walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise. A goal of 10,000 steps daily will help you fulfill the recommended daily and weekly exercise goals endorsed by the American Heart Association. If you are still having a hard time getting all your steps in for the day, try some of these additional suggestions:
- Take a brisk walk around your grocery store one more time before checking out
- Pace the room or your halls during commercial breaks
- Keep the steps count going while chatting on your phone
- Walk in place while washing dishes or brushing your teeth
- Take a walk after dinner
- Park your car and walk to the pick-up area when picking your children up from school
- Take a stroll with your coffee rather than sitting with your cup
Walking for health and fitness can be incorporated into any busy lifestyle. If you find yourself losing your motivation, try lowering your goal temporarily and add 1000 to 2000 steps to your goal each week. New habits take time to develop. Once taking more steps comes naturally to you, it may be easier to find ways to add more. Taking 10,000 steps each day is a simple way to achieve your health and fitness goals.
If you haven’t downloaded the Pacer app yet, download Pacer for free (on mobile)! You can also check out our website (mobile or desktop) or follow our blog for more great walking and healthy lifestyle tips.