It has been engrained in the minds of many Americans that you should take at least 10,000 steps each day for a healthy lifestyle. While some studies have produced slightly different numbers, it seems that 10,000 is a good number to start with. Getting this many steps in has been linked to reduced risk for heart disease and other ailments, according to the National Heart Association.
You may not have any idea how many steps you take in a day if you don’t wear a fitness tracker or have a step counter set up on your phone. Luckily, you can track your daily steps without having to buy a fitness tracker! The free Fitbit app on your phone allows you to connect your phone’s pedometer to the app to track steps without having to actually buy a Fitbit! Most phones also have a built-in health app that will contain this data if you prefer to use that.
Track your steps using that method for a day to get an idea of where you stand. Just make sure to continually carry your phone in your pocket so that each step is counted.
You might be shocked at how little you walk compared to what you think. Even if you do hit that 10,000-step goal without putting in extra effort, more steps is generally never a bad thing.
So how can we boost those numbers?
Take the long way.
For those who work in an office, this can be especially effective. If you need to head to the bathroom or to pick up something at the printer, take a longer route. You can easily get in 50-100 extra steps on a bathroom break and only take slightly longer to do so.
Park further away.
If you drive to work or class, consider parking further away than your usual spot. You can get a couple hundred extra steps in this way! If you take the bus, try getting off a stop earlier than usual. Just make sure that you plan ahead and have enough time to get to where you’re going with the extra walking time.
Take a victory lap.
When you’re done at work or class, and you don’t have anywhere you need to be for a while, consider taking a victory lap or two around the block. Walking around a city block in Ames can rack up 600-900 steps!
Pace back and forth.
This one’s a little silly and might not be for everybody. If you feel comfortable doing so, you can pace back and forth while doing tasks that allow for pacing. I’ll often walk around while brainstorming in the office. This is one of those ‘the little things add up’ tips.
Go for a walk!
I know that this is obvious advice and that you don’t need me to tell you this, but going for a walk is the best way to get your steps in. I enjoy walking at night in the summer and exploring parts of my neighborhood that I don’t usually see. If it’s the winter, you can walk at the indoor tracks in State Gym or Lied. I have no problem walking for an hour or more, but you don’t even need to go for that long to get a significant number of steps in. Walking a mile can take around 20 minutes and rack up 2,500 steps or more. A walk that lasts an hour and a half can put you over 10,000 steps alone! If you’re a morning person, this means that you can hit your goal before you even start your day.
Hitting your step goal each and every day is just an important step towards improving your overall health and fitness. At Recreation Services, we always aim to help you reach those health goals no matter how big or small.