The Ideal Step Count and How to Increase Yours
Yesterday was National Walking Day! We love this holiday for its encouragement to get people up and walking around. In honour of the day, we decided to discuss the idea of getting enough steps and how you can improve your step count throughout the day.
Everyone is always talking about getting their 10,000 steps in each day, as if that is the magical number that will make all your health goals a reality. But is 10,000 steps really the right goal for you?
Generally, 10,000 steps will put you at about five miles per day, which is a respectable distance to walk. This is a great goal for maintaining weight, plus it’s the perfect starting point for people who are just starting to track their steps.
However, 10,000 steps isn’t the perfect goal for everyone. We all have different lives, different bodies and different health goals; 10,000 steps just isn’t right for everyone. This isn’t a one size fits all situation! If your goal is to lose weight, you might want to aim closer to 15,000 steps daily. If you are just returning from an injury, 10,000 is way too many; you probably only need half of that.
We also differ in our step speed and step length. As the Huffington Post pointed out in a recent article, there is a big difference in taking 10,000 slow steps and taking 10,000 quick ones.
It’s hard not to just focus on the number of steps you get in one day – most of us have notifications coming to our phone during the day to alert us how many more steps we need to take in order to reach 10,000. But it is important to remember that the number of steps you take isn’t always a true measure of your overall physical activity.
No matter what your steps goal is, we collected some of our favourite tips on how you can reach that goal. Here are our 5 simple ways to integrate more steps into your day:
1. Make it a habit!
Getting out for a daily walk is the perfect way to ensure you reach your step goal each day, but it can be difficult to try and fit in a walk every day if you don’t plan for it. Make it a habit to go for a walk after dinnertime each evening with your family, before work with your dog, or over your lunch break. Choose the time that will be easiest for you to stick to as a daily commitment. Routine is key to keep your goal over a long period of time!
2. Take up a new family activity!
Sometimes your step goal isn’t just your goal; it can be a goal for the whole family to get behind. Why not make it fun and try a few new activities with them? Things like mini-golf, laser tag, escape rooms and trampoline parks are a great way to get the whole family earning extra steps!
3. A little goes a long way!
Don’t underestimate the little things. Parking your car further away from the entrance to the grocery store or your office can help you get in some extra steps. It may seem silly in the moment, but the little efforts here and there can really add up. Things like walking over to your co-worker instead of sending an email, taking the stairs instead of the elevator and walking your kids to the bus stop each morning can make a BIG difference.
4. Set reminders!
Sometimes we get so focused on what we are doing that we completely forget to get up and move. Set yourself reminders during the day to get up and walk around. That way, no matter how lost in thought you get, you will always remember that getting up and moving is an important part of your day. Some people will set a reminder for every 20 minutes to remind themselves to get up and stretch, while others will set one every hour or longer. Find what works for you and set those reminders!
5. Try a walking meeting!
This isn’t always a possibility for some people, but it can really help communication and creativity flow during meetings. If the weather is favourable, try going outside for your meeting – you will get a walk, some sunshine and fresh air. If outside isn’t an option (and if you live in Canada, there are many times when it isn’t), try an indoor walking meeting with a couple of treadmill desks. If your office is lucky enough to have a meeting space with an office treadmill, take advantage of it! Another option is to just simply stand up and pace the room during conference calls or meetings; even just standing up will help you get in a few extra steps!