How To Hit 10,000 Steps Without An Extra Workout
If you’ve got an Apple watch or a fitness tracker, chances are you’re keeping an eye on how many steps you’re taking each day.
I know that for many of you, tracking how many steps you take is one way to motivate yourself to move more throughout the day and stay active.
Aiming for 10,000 steps per day as a good baseline level of activity for adults. While it may sound like a lot, it is actually pretty achievable for people of all ages and fitness levels.
Why is walking good for you?
There are a lot of benefits of walking. Firstly, because it gets your heart rate up it can increase your fitness. This makes it a good choice for exercise to build up your fitness foundation if you are new to training or returning to working out after a break.
Australia’s Heart Foundation recommends walking for at least 30 minutes a day, which can improve your heart health, by lowering your blood pressure and cholesterol.
Walking can also boost your balance and coordination. Taking regular walks of at least 30 minutes a day can strengthen bones — which is particularly important for women, as bone density can decrease with age.
While walking to hit 10,000 steps is a great goal, it’s not simply about hitting a number — there are so many benefits for your overall health too!
How to get to 10,000 steps each day
To get to 10,000 steps each day, the most straightforward way to achieve this is to walk until you hit that goal.
I walk on a treadmill most days as my LISS (low-intensity steady state) cardio activity, which I usually do for between half an hour and 45 minutes, but I don’t hit 10,000 steps from that session.
It would usually take well over an hour of walking to notch up 10,000 steps.
However, that doesn’t take into account incidental activity that can boost your step count beyond a walking session. If you spend most of the day at a desk, it can be a little bit tough to hit the magic 10,000 steps, but there are lots of simple ways you can reach your step goals without doing another exercise session.
Set yourself hourly goals to move
If you are studying or have a job that requires you to sit for long periods of time, give yourself a break every hour to get up from your desk and walk for a short period.
You can use this time to get a glass of water, which is a great way to make sure you’re well-hydrated. It’s also a way to give yourself an active screen break, which can help reduce kyphosis or poor posture.
If you’re stuck on a problem and need to clear your head, pacing increases your heart rate, which moves your blood around your body — you may find you’re able to work through a complex issue more easily!
Do you love listening to podcasts? Instead of listening on the couch, use that time to increase your step count with a walk. If you have a treadmill, you can also use that time to catch up on favourite TV shows. Audiobooks are another great option if you’re a big reader — that way you can safely walk and “read” at the same time.
Take your meetings outside
If you’re having regular meetings for work, try to schedule them in as active sessions. Walking meetings are a great idea for regular face-to-face work appointments or virtual catch-ups.
Add movement to your social time
If you normally meet a friend for coffee, suggest going for a walk instead. You can still catch up as you walk, and to make the most of your activity try to vary the intensity or walk up and down a few hills. Socialising and being active at the same time is something you can try with your training too — finding a workout buddy can really boost your fitness journey.
For group meet-ups or times when meeting at a cafe is unavoidable, plan to arrive a bit earlier, and take a stroll while you wait and get in some extra steps.
Park further away
If you’re heading out, make a habit of parking as far from the door of your destination as possible. Whether you’re going to study, the office or doing a grocery shop, giving yourself that extra bit of walking distance keeps you on track to reach your daily goal.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator
You’ve probably heard this tip a million times — and with good reason! Taking the stairs at every opportunity is such a simple way to take more steps and work your leg muscles as well.
If you’re feeling energetic, you can even run up stairs to get the blood pumping. The same goes for escalators — switch them out for stairs where possible, or walk up or down escalators rather than standing still.
Make the most of your outdoor space to get in some more steps. If you have a back yard, try gardening or mowing the lawn. Even small spaces such as balconies can become gardens and maintaining your outdoor spaces can add extra movement to your day.
Remember it’s about progress, not perfection!
With just a few simple changes, you can really increase the number of steps you do each day. The more time you spend on your feet, the more likely it is you’ll hit your step count.
If you’re just starting out on your fitness journey, don’t worry if you don’t hit 10,000 steps straight away. You can work towards that number over time.
Every move you make counts towards your daily step goal, so wear your fitness tracker and keep moving!
* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.