We’ve all been there—marching in place in our bedrooms at 11 pm, trying to hit 10,000 steps on our smartwatches by midnight. While that 10,000 step goal isn’t right for everyone, it’s an ideal one for a lot of us—walking has been shown to have major benefits for both physical and mental health—benefits include improved creativity, lower stress, increased energy, lower blood pressure, lower blood sugar and improved memory.
For many, it’s also a pretty daunting goal. For most people, it takes effort to hit a step goal every day (if it feels pretty easy to you, consider increasing it!). Some days it just doesn’t happen — maybe you had to work through lunch so you didn’t get those extra 400 steps in. Researchers have found that Americans only take an average of 5,117 steps a day. Luckily, there are better ways of hitting 10,000 steps—and reaping the health rewards—than walking in place at night and driving your downstairs neighbors insane. Here are some tips to reach your step goals:
1. Start Early.
Get ahead of your goal first thing in the morning! Get out of bed and start moving - whether you walk your dog, do a quick lap around the neighborhood, or get some chores in around the house - whatever it may be start moving early. Even just getting out of bed 10 minutes earlier will ensure that you get additional steps in.
2. Embrace chores as a way to get steps in.
Especially if you are someone who works from home! Make your chores a game to see how many steps you can get in throughout the day. Move the laundry basket to the other side of the room - walking back to the basket to get more clothes to fold adds additional steps. If on a work call, pop in your headphones and walk around your neighborhood or around the house.
3. Park further away.
Headed to the store or a restaurant? Bundle up and park further away from the front door to add additional steps.
4. Set reminders.
Use your work calendar or reminders on your phone to get up and move every hour. If you have an Apple Watch, it will notify you if you've been sitting for the hour - use that notification as a reminder to get some steps in.
5. Make it a game.
Many of us are competitive. So making it a game can keep us focused on reaching that goal. Compete with your friends on your FitBit or Apple Watch ... seeing their step count will encourage you to get more! See how many steps you can get in from doing certain tasks and keep track!
Now that digital pedometers are suddenly everywhere—fitness trackers, cell phones, smartwatches—attaining 10,000 steps a day has become a bit of a national obsession. But it is more than a game. Consistent daily activity nourishes nearly every system in your body. When you get 10,000 steps a day, you put another brick in the wall that protects your health. So use these tips to help you get your steps in!