Get more steps and reach your fitness goals by walking to work

Work walking into your daily commute to start your day off active and energize yourself for the day ahead. Whether you typically drive to work or take public transportation, you can use your commute as a way to get a head start on your step goals. You don’t need to walk all the way to your workplace or completely tire yourself out. You’ll find that you arrive to work with more energy and creativity, and you’ll be ready to take on the day.

Use these tips to work in walking no matter how you usually get to work, ensuring you reach your daily recommended activity goals without detracting from your workday.

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Get off a stop (or two) early, or park a mile away

Back view of businessperson walking on a subway
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If you live close enough to your work that seems like a reasonable distance to walk, then great! Choose at least one day out of the week to walk to work. Especially if you’re not used to walking to work yet, it’s a good idea to start slow and work your way to walking every day. Try increasing your daily step goal by 2,000 steps (about a mile). You don’t have to hit it right away, but it’s a great stepping stone on the way to 10,000 steps.

If you don’t live close enough to walk the full distance, or if you want to ease yourself into walking the whole way, try parking a mile away from your office and walk the rest. You can always park closer or further depending on your activity level!

If you ride the bus or other public transit to work, you can get off a few stops early and walk the rest of the way. You’ll want to use your favorite maps app to check the distance first before you try this strategy. Some public transit stops can be further away than others, and you don’t want to find that you need to walk much further than you thought! The key is adding in a few steps wherever you can – not forcing yourself to walk for miles.

Make sure to make it on time!

Businessman running late for work concept
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Walking to work can take you a bit longer, so make sure that you give yourself a cushion to get to work on time. Leave extra early the first few days you try walking to work. No matter how carefully you plan, life can throw things at you that you didn’t expect. Getting to work on time the first few times you try walking will help motivate you to keep doing it. When planning out the timing for the first time, add at least 15-20 minutes extra just in case your commute takes longer than you think. This allows you to walk more slowly and can help if the weather is poor.

It’s also important to give yourself some time to get settled and cool down a bit once you get to the office. Hopefully, you’ve already cooled down at the end of your commute, but you still may need a minute or two to go from walking to sitting. You can adjust after a successful commute, but make sure to give yourself that cushion so you’ll stay on time and stay motivated.

Don’t sweat the sweat

Sweating after a long walk to work concept
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Let’s face it – if you’re walking a good distance then you’re probably going to sweat. Even if you’re walking when it’s cold outside, walking with a good number of layers on can get you sweating. Giving yourself more time to walk allows you to walk more slowly, which can help keep sweating to a minimum. You’ll want to wear seasonally appropriate clothes with fabrics that allow your body to breath and wick moisture away from your core. Here are some ideas for winter, and some summer walking tips. 

For those whose work requires formal dress, try carefully folding your work outfit and carrying it in a backpack or other bag. You’ll feel more comfortable in your commute, and you can change out of your walking clothes to be more refreshed when you arrive. You can also try switching out your base layer if your commute isn’t too sweaty. If you’re not one of the lucky few with a shower in their office, you may need to bring a small hand towel to help quickly wash up when you arrive.

Work shoes are hard on your feet. Try leaving your dress shoes or work boots at work and walk to work in your comfortable walking shoes. If you’re only doing a short walk to work, you can get by in non-walking shoes. Trying to walk a mile or two to work in dress shoes, however, is likely to leave you with painful feet for the day ahead.

If you’ve tried these suggestions and sweat is just too much of a problem, you can always try reversing these tips and walk home at the end of the day instead. You’ll be a bit more tired from a long day at work, but you’ll have the luxury of arriving home to a nice hot shower after your walk.

Stop for coffee

If there’s a coffee shop (or your preferred beverage/pastry shop) near your work, take a detour on your way and grab some coffee. Perhaps you might feel generous and grab some for a few co-workers as well!

Man getting a coffee on the way to work
PH888 / Shutterstock

If you’re not a coffee lover, see if there are any errands you can take care of on the way to work. This allows you to take care of them early, and get some extra early steps in. You can always work in a detour to walk in a nearby park, or window shop at some stores you like.

Try to stick to black coffee, or add your own sugar and milk or cream (hopefully just a touch!). Many common coffee drinks – especially blended coffee drinks, sugary flavored lattes, and pre-made iced coffees – are packed with calories. If you’re trying to lose some weight and eliminate some fat, liquid calories are your number one enemy.

Inspire a coworker

Colleagues walking to work together at the office
A Lot Of People / Shutterstock

If you have a co-worker (or multiple) that live near you, see if they would like to join you on your walk. Having an accountability partner helps you stick to a new walking plan or decision to get more active. Having someone to walk with can also make your walk more interesting while helping you better your relationship with at least one of your co-workers.

Listen to an audiobook or start a podcast series

Phone and headphones - listening to music concept
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Having something to listen to can help make your walk more fun and interesting. Audiobooks and podcasts are a great way to find varied content to listen to. Audiobooks allow you to “read” your favorite books while you’re walking. Instead of listening to music, you can listen to a thriller or learn something new in nonfiction.

Podcasts are completely free, and there are thousands of podcasts on every conceivable topic. Podcasts generally come out on a regular schedule, so try choosing several so that you’ll always have a new podcast available during your walks.

Whether you’re listening to audiobooks or podcasts, make sure to download them via WiFi before you leave for work (or at work the previous day) so they’re ready for you to listen to on your walk.

Keep up on the news

If you can’t find an audiobook or podcast you like, see if your local news or sports channel has a way to listen while you walk. Many news programs also release their content as podcasts as well which is helpful. Listening to the news also gives you something else to talk to your co-workers about – just keep it to office-friendly topics!

By walking to work or going a bit out of your way, you can easily increase your step numbers and stay motivated. Don’t let a busy schedule or lack of motivation stop you from getting in the steps you want!

Get your office active!

A great way to get more steps is to get your entire office moving! Our Pacer for Teams organizational step challenge platform lets you create an office step challenge for free using the Pacer app. It’s a great way to motivate your whole office active, which gets you more steps!

Get Pacer

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.

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