The American Heart Association’s “walk 10,000 steps a day” recommendation is one of the most often repeated pieces of advice when it comes to leading a healthier, more active life, especially for people living in the city or who work an office job, which usually doesn’t allow for much activity throughout the day.
There are ways on how to get more steps at home and work. Many of them are so easy that you can potentially add them to your daily routine this very day and bring your numbers up (10,000 steps are roughly equivalent to 5 miles, by the way).
Here are the best tips on how to walk more if you live in the city:
Get a pedometer
Well, you have to be able to count your steps if you want to take more of them every day, right? Fortunately, there are many options if you're going to find the very best pedometer for you, from dedicated hardware to smartphone apps. A Fitbit or similar gadgets can be worn on your wrist, or attached to your belt, waistband or be comfortably carried in your pocket, so you can go on about your day without thinking twice about it.
Walk (partially) to work
Living in the city means that your morning commute is not precisely short, but instead of taking the bus or subway to the station closest to your job, get off a few blocks early and walk the rest of the way. You can also do this on your way back, adding a couple of blocks because you probably don’t have the pressure of being early like in the morning.
Make it a social occasion
Bringing someone along is a perfect way to do almost anything because then you’re held accountable if you don’t follow through with your plan. So invite a friend for a daily afternoon walk around a quiet part of town. You can even create a walking group to inspire and be inspired by others. This is a good excuse to socialize, catch up with someone and even discover new areas of the city together, opening up a window for future plans.
Catch up on your audio books or podcasts
If your line of work stops you from listening to podcasts or audio books because you have to be entirely focused on a task, then taking afternoon walks is the perfect opportunity to finally listen to them while avoiding the feeling that you’re neglecting something at work or home. This way you’d be taking care of your heart, your time, and learning something new along the way. It acts as a good motivator to get out and walk.
Cook dinner at home
The last few tips have been all about getting more steps outside in the city, but how to get more steps at home? Believe it or not, cooking is an excellent way to accomplish this, because you can rack up to 1,000 steps even on a small kitchen if your recipe is complex enough, plus you can, of course, take this time to practice healthier recipes and prepare lunches for the week.
Get a stepper
In case you’re truly strapped for time, a stepper is a good, low-cost option to exercise right at home while adding steps to your daily count. You can store it under the desk or your bed for easy access without having to trip over it every time you enter the room.
Do housework/yard work
Even more than cooking, housework, and yard work are good ways of taking many, many steps while also getting some chores out of the way, especially yard work, because that space is usually bigger than the interior of the house. You could also, however, leave the housework to the professionals and use that free time to go walk or jog, which would give you more steps than the former option.
Getting extra steps in your daily life might seem complicated because it also means squeezing time out of your routine, but it doesn’t have to be that way if you follow the above tips and accept that it does require a bit of extra work and planning. But it’s all for a good reason! Your heart will thank you down the road, and so will your family.