5 Easy Ways to Increase Your Daily Step Count … Without the Gym!
You’ve probably heard it mentioned that we each need a daily step count of 10,000 steps to be healthy. While this specific figure appears to have originated from a 1960s Japanese marketing campaign rather than definitive scientific evidence, there is little argument that the more we move, the healthier our minds and bodies are.
The world we live in is somewhat at odds with this requirement as many of us have desk jobs, take seated journeys and use labour-saving devices that take the effort (read that as movement) out of everyday tasks. With that said, there are a variety of ways to slot a few extra steps into our usual lives.
1 – Take the Stairs
You’ve probably heard this one before and yet it makes perfect sense. While it is convenient to take the lift if you’re carrying heavy bags or overseeing a posse of exuberant children, opt for the stairs every time you’re alone. Not only will it increase your step count and calorie burn, regular stair use will also increase your leg strength.
2 – Get Off the Bus a Stop Early
If disembarking the bus one stop early equates to an extra five minutes walk, that earns you roughly 500 additional daily steps, a very decent chunk indeed! Let’s be honest for a second; this one may be more appealing on a breezy summer afternoon than a wet, blustery winter evening but, hey, that’s all part of the challenge! Another couple of benefits this little walk can offer is to bring you closer with your community, and give you a few minutes to yourself to decompress.
3 – Walk for Two Minutes Every Hour
If you get up and move for the last two minutes of each hour between 9am and 5pm, you could earn over 1500 steps! You can set a reminder to nudge you or, if you wear a fitness tracker or smartwatch, it can be set up to remind you automatically. Use this tiny hourly break to take the stairs a couple of times, do a circuit of the office or garden, whatever is appropriate. As long as you walk for each of those two minutes, you’ll be upping your step count and introducing regular movement, which is all the more essential if you’re sedentary.
4 – Walk as You Talk
Try multitasking. Instead of sitting on the sofa for a lengthy chinwag on the phone, pull on your trainers and step outside. Combining the two enables you to get a few steps and some fresh air, all while having a convo.
5 – Combine Exercise and Escapism
Distracting my brain with interesting information while I move is my favourite way to rack up the steps without realising. I’m a fan of combining hour-long treadmill walks with watching whatever new show I’m hooked on; wanting to find out what happens in the next episode encourages me to use my treadmill regularly. I’ll also do this while I listen to the latest episode of a podcast. Internet apps like Spotify, Audible, and BBC iPlayer contain dozens of free-to-access podcasts, audiobooks, and documentaries.
Try setting yourself a physical task at home, like tidying up the kitchen, dusting all the rooms, or working in the garden, as you listen. You’ll soon forget the exercise you’re doing as you get swept up in the story you’re listening to. Just remember to stay aware of your surroundings if you choose to listen as you walk in public.
Keep it Simple
Increasing your daily step count does not mean you need to make vast changes to the setup of your day, let alone fork out for a gym subscription. By finding ways to slip in some movement while you complete your usual everyday tasks, you’ll soon be hitting and perhaps even surpassing 10,000 steps a day!