Could you use an extra 2,000 steps in your day? With a little creativity and planning, you can work those steps in!
Maybe you’re more active than ever, and you’re easily hitting your 10,000 step goal. Or, you may be working to build up your steps but you’re getting stuck in a mini plateau. Don’t try to add 5,000 or 10,000 steps all at once. 2,000 steps is a great, manageable target for an increase. Here are some tips on how to get 2,000 extra steps, and what benefits you’ll get out of them!
What Do 2000 Steps Look Like?
Would you believe that it only takes on average 15-20 minutes to take 2000 steps? If you split those minutes up over the course of a day, that means just an extra 5 minutes of walking, 3-4 times a day. Most of us can work that in! According to the Cleveland Clinic, these 2000 steps equal walking around one mile. Depending on your weight, this could mean burning an extra 100 calories a day. Your actual distance walked in 2,000 steps may vary – taller people or those with longer strides go farther in any given number of steps.
What do those 2000 steps add up over the long term? Every 3500 calories you burn is 1 extra pound of fat lost. By burning an extra 100 calories a day, after a little over a month you may add an additional pound of weight loss! Let’s write that again, because it’s important: Adding 2000 steps a day to your walks could mean an extra pound of weight loss every month.
How To Get In An Extra 2000 Steps Daily
There are almost infinite ways to get 5 minutes of extra walking, 3 or 4 times per day. You’re only limited by your creativity and the walking locations in your area. There are a lot of resources to find creative walking ideas, but here are some for you to try!
While Out and About
When you’re out and about, take the long way around and get extra steps in wherever possible. Usually, the easiest or most comfortable things you can do get you the least steps. Here are some ways to get those steps while doing errands!
- Walk the outside aisles or the perimeter of grocery story before you start really shopping. While you’re getting your extra steps, think about your strategy to buy the fresh, whole foods featured in these store sections. By walking (and planning) more, you can avoid the unhealthy packaged foods typically found on the interior store aisles and get more steps!
- While shopping at big box stores, don’t cluster your shopping by buying what’s next on shopping list according to its proximity. Try taking a zigzag path, going out of your way intentionally as you work down the shopping list.
- When parking, choose a space farther from the store’s entrance. If shopping at multiple stores in a strip mall, resist the urge to move your car after loading up your bags and instead, head to the next store on foot.
- Return shopping carts to the store instead of leaving it in the used cart area. You might get a warm thank you from the store employees!
- Avoid the drive-thru. Park your car and walk yourself into the store. Do this even for quick roadside pick-ups. You’ll also make healthier choices if you have to eat fast-food, as you’ll have a bit more time to decide on healthier choices.
While At Work
- Walk to work if your workplace is a reasonable distance away from home.
- Get off of public transportation one or more stops before your destination.
- Instead of using the nearest restroom on your floor, find the toilet farthest from you. You can even try another floor if possible so that you can get in some stair work in addition to walking.
- Refill your coffee or water at break room farthest from your workstation.
- When taking phone calls, walk in place or walk around the hallway or meeting room to get extra steps.
- Drop the remote control and change channels manually.
- Get up during commercial breaks and take a brisk walk around the house.
- If you’re binge-watching TV shows on a streaming service, make your own walking breaks!
- Do some active play with your kids or grandkids. It helps them develop active habits, and gets them away from the screen for a while.
- Mow the lawn. If you upgraded years ago to a riding mower, consider dusting off the old push mower for a real workout.
- Take the pooch for a walk. If you don’t have a dog and aren’t interested in getting one, you can always volunteer at the local dog shelter to walk their dogs or help out an elderly or infirm neighbor with their pet.
- Make a habit to take an after-dinner walk around the block. You can get your whole family in on the action and use the opportunity to catch up on their day.
- Walk on a treadmill while watching the evening news or another short television program. If you don’t have a treadmill, try walking in place or pacing in your living room. Even just standing up is a better workout than slouching on the couch.
Get out and have fun!
- Explore the world around you by finding new nature trails.
- Pop into the shopping mall and do some fast paced window shopping.
- Discover a new cafe, coffee shop or boutique in your area.
- Join a local walking club in your community.
- Take a walk around the block listening to an audiobook or podcast. Aim to keep walking until you finish one chapter.
- Find a historic place or landmark near your house or office and learn more about it.
- On the weekends, visit your downtown city center, park the car and see what you can discover on foot. If you live in a city, just walk over instead of driving!
- Don’t just watch the kids play, but walk loops around the playground while keeping an eye on the kiddos.
Think of these as ideas to have fun and get active, rather than thinking of them purely as a step number. You can start by adding just one of these ideas into your daily routine. At the end of the day as you review your progress you will likely be surprised at how easy and effortless it was to increase your mileage. Perhaps at the end of the month, you can even boast a little extra weight loss and a considerable gain in strength and endurance.