You may have heard you should aim to walk 10,000 steps a day. And while that's not quite accurate (there's no universal magic number for steps/day), there are absolutely benefits to pushing yourself to get up out of your seat and walk a little bit more each day. Because all those extra steps add up over time!(Image: Kristen Schellenberg / LIVESTRONG.COM)
A good starting point is figuring out your baseline — about how much you're already walking in a day. Then, it's time to get creative with your steps. If you aren't quite hitting 10,000 steps a day (or any other step goal you've set for yourself), that's totally fine! Plenty of people are in the same boat as you (just read some of the posts in our challenge Facebook group for encouragement).
Simple Ways to Walk More Throughout the Day
If you need some help figuring out how to hit your daily step count, here are a ton of simple ideas you can incorporate into your everyday routine:Pace the bathroom or you home while you brush your teeth.
Walk around the kitchen while your coffee brews.
Park the car at the other end of the parking lot from work or the store so you have to walk further to get to the building.If there are two bathrooms at work (or wherever you happen to spend the majority of your day), use the one that's farther away (or even one on a different floor so you have to take the stairs).Take a walk on your lunch break.Walk and talk! If you have a phone call or meeting, take a walk while you do it.Take your pup for a longer walk than usual or offer to walk the neighbor's or a friend's dog.If you need to run a quick errand and the shop is close enough, walk there!Take your afternoon coffee break at a walkable coffee shop nearby instead of in the office.Play tag with your kids in the backyard or some other game that involves a lot of movement. Or offer to do the same with a friend's or neighbor's kids.Turn on some music and dance around the kitchen while you cook a meal. (Or you can pace, but dancing is way more fun!)Whenever you can (and if your knees allow), take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.Carry shopping bags from your car to the house one at a time.If you're watching TV, pace the room while the commercials are on.Take the long way to the printer to grab your papers, to the mailbox to drop off a letter or to the kitchen to refill your glass of water.Pick up litter around your office or neighborhood.Pace when you're waiting at the doctor's office or any other kind of appointment.Instead of sending an email, walk over to your co-worker's desk (as long as they don't look deeply invested in something, of course).Skip the drive-thru and walk inside instead.Clean your house or apartment.Do some work around the yard. Mow the lawn, pull weeds, rake leaves, etc.Take an extra lap around the grocery store.If you take public transportation, get off one stop early (or get on a few stops later).
These may seem silly or small, but every step adds up. And if you implement most of these into your day, you'll be surprised how quickly you reach that 10,000-step goal. If you need a bigger push, here are some other creative ideas that could work for you, depending on your work and home situation.Walk to and from work. (Or bike!)
Walk your kids to and from school.Some offices have treadmill desks. If yours does, use it for simple tasks like phone calls or answering emails. If they don't, ask your office manager to add it to the wishlist!Join a walking or hiking group. That way you'll have a schedule and people who you know are counting on you to show up.Meet friends for a hike along the beach or at the park instead of (or in addition to) coffee or drinks.Make a standing date to go a walk every day at a certain time (before work, after dinner, etc.).
Make the Journey a Little More Fun
Basically, if you can walk somewhere, you should walk somewhere! So since you'll be walking a lot, here's how you can make each step a little more interesting.Treat yourself to fun, colorful (and comfortable!) walking shoes. A good pair will last for anywhere between 350 and 500 miles, which will likely work out to about six to nine months.
Listen to music. Change it up with your mood. If you're walking to the gym, play upbeat music to get you pumped. If you're walking before bed, play gentler music to help you wind down.Find a podcast you love and only listen to it during longer walks. Along with our own Stronger podcast, we have a few other recommendations for ones we love.Bring a friend — either a human one or a canine companion.Change up your route. If you always walk to work, the grocery store or the bus stop via one route, pick a different one. Then take some pictures along the way to show the challenge Facebook group what you saw.Dance it out! Sure, you might be in public, but as the saying goes, you should dance like no one is watching. Alternatively, you could also skip or moonwalk!
Need a little bit more motivation? You can take on the LIVESTRONG.com 10,000 Steps a Day Challenge and join the LIVESTRONG.COM Challenge Facebook Group. Our members post lots of helpful info and tips and can help answer your questions and connect you to others who are joining you for the challenge.