Easy Ways to Walk 10,000 Steps a Day
We sit too much. As a society, we’ve taken the work out of hundreds of tasks, so we can move our bodies less. The result has been devastating to our national health.
There are now studies that show, sitting all day can be as hazardous to your health as smoking. Sitting can lower your life expectancy and cause crippling health problems as you age.
To fight back, researchers looked at people who sat all day, and compared them against various levels of activity. Is an hour of exercise enough? What if we only did a lot on the weekends? How intense should my exercise be?
What emerged was a simple recommendation that would help most people live a much healthier and longer life. Walk at least 5,000 steps a day, 10 to 15 thousand if you can fit it in. The minimum is a simple goal, that can be devilishly difficult to achieve. With all the devices designed to get us to relax, here's what you can do to move more.
Start by tracking what you’re currently doing. You need to know what your starting point is. Then measure it using pedometers, step counters on smart phones or with devices like the Fitbit.
Make sure you have comfortable shoes. Don't walk more in shoes that fit poorly or aren't appropriate for your daily tasks. If you've got foot problems, meet with a podiatrist (foot doctor) and get their professional opinion.
Put walking on your calendar. It can be reminders throughout the day, as an item that appears on the top of a to do list or on a daily schedule. The point is to make a commitment and block aside time to do it. Without a regular reminder, it’s easy to skip or forget about it.
At work, walk to a co-workers office instead of calling or emailing. In small offices, try walking outside or even around the building once before engaging them. If you don't want to interrupt someone in person, do the same thing before sending an email or text. That way they can interact with you how they want, but you’re still getting steps in.
Go out of your way for routine things. Use bathrooms that are the farther away. Stand up and walk around your room before using a television remote. Carry groceries into your home one bag at a time. Then put things away, one item at a time. Do the same when you’re cleaning up your house or putting away laundry, handle each item individually.
Walk in place when doing stationary tasks. Get up during commercials, when you talk on the phone and when you're sending a text. If you sit at a computer all day, elevate it so you can work on it while standing up.
Enlist your friends to help. Don't chat with people online, give them a call and walk while you catch up. If they live close, head over to their place for a regular walk and talk session.
Link walking with food. Every time you eat something, get up and take a five minute walk. It’s a great way to digest food and helps you burn a few of those calories off. Over time it'll become an automatic reflex, adding hundreds of healthy steps a day.
Replace or minimize transportation whenever possible. Instead of driving to a corner store, walk. Get off the bus a block or two before your regular stop. Park at the far end of a lot when you go to a store.
Finally, go big and challenge yourself to a virtual trek. Pledge to walk the Appalachian trail, the Tour de France, the Tōkai Nature Trail, the Great Divide or the Camino de Santiago. Put a map up outlining the trail and marking the distance. Then at the end of each day, move a pin or marker according to how many steps you’ve taken. 10,000 steps roughly translates to 5 miles. Imagine how good you'll feel when you finish.
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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.