10,000 steps a day might sound like an unreachable goal, but, for the average person, that’s only about five miles of walking. Some people with very active jobs can meet or exceed that distance just through their regular daily activities. Most other people are likely to need a little help. If you’re one of the many people who has a tough time meeting your daily step goals, don’t worry. There are tons of easy ways you can sneak in a little walking here and there.
1. Change the way you think about convenience.
Nabbing a parking spot close to your destination might seem like a lucky break, but it doesn’t do much for your step goals. Deliberately choosing to park further away, take the stairs, or even to choose a bathroom on a different floor of your office all make you walk more. Even if the distance isn’t huge, it really adds up. The next time you’re faced with a choice that seems convenient, consider how many steps you’ll be getting out of it.
Talking on the phone, getting ready for bed, and even watching TV are all sneaky opportunities to get some steps in. Pace around the room, or even try marching in place — you’ll be surprised how much walking you can fit in in just a few minutes. Every time you have an activity that could be portable, like browsing the internet on your phone, try pacing or marching instead of sitting on the couch. Even if you don’t need to use your body, you can decide to get some steps in.
3. Do a few laps.
Checking the mail? Take a lap around your house or yard first. Going grocery shopping? Take a walk around the store’s perimeter and see what they’ve got before you begin. Going to bed soon? Do a quick sweep of your house. Adding an extra lap or two won’t take up much time, but it’ll give you a lot of steps — and a great opportunity to spot things you might miss otherwise.
4. Leave your car (unless you really need it).
If you’re making a shopping trip that’s within walking distance, and aren’t picking up more than you can carry, leave your car at home. If you’re visiting multiple stores a walkable distance apart, park between them and walk the difference. Even if you do need to drive, avoid loading yourself up and carrying every bag in at once — make multiple trips. Your step counter (and your spine) will thank you.
5. Make walking a social activity.
One problem some people have with walking is that they find it tedious or boring, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Joining a Meetup group for walkers, taking part in a mall-walking excursion, or even getting a group of co-workers together to walk during lunch. Turn walking into an opportunity to socialize and make friends, and those miles will fly by.
6. Take in the scenery.
Taking a day trip somewhere? Going to a new restaurant? Window-shopping a few cute boutiques you’ve never been to before? Expand your destination, and take a walk around the surrounding area. In addition to adding to your step count, you can end up finding some really amazing hidden gems by going a little way off the beaten path.
7. Pick up a walking-adjacent hobby.
In addition to exploring neighborhoods and making walking into a social outing, there are a lot of really fun hobbies that require going on foot. Even if hiking isn’t your thing, you can try geocaching, bird watching, nature photography, or even learn about foraging. The next time you’re bored, scope out activities at local parks or trails. You can expand your interests, and find a new, fun, easy way to go for a walk.
10,000 steps sounds time-consuming, but it adds up to less than two hours of moving for most people. By finding sneaky ways to add a minute or two of walking here and there throughout the day, it’s possible to chisel that number down into much more manageable pieces, all without really trying.