Being active is crucial for your health, and getting in enough steps during the day is one way to do this. The typical benchmark is 10,000 steps, but who can keep track of that many? That’s why the apps and tools to do this for you have become so popular.
Whether you are trying to measure your steps with your FitBit, Apple Watch, or some other gadget, the easy part is taken care of. Now you have to actually do the work to reach your target.
Unless you’re trekking through the wilderness or hitting a theme park, 10,000 steps is a difficult goal for most people. But with these techniques, you’ll be able to get your steps in, even on busy days.
Your target is within reach!
1. Schedule a Walking Date
Socializing is important for every human, but most of us meet at restaurants or in the park for our kids to play while we sit.
The idea that “hanging out” must be done around a meal is such an ingrained part of our culture. It makes it hard to plan a get-together that doesn’t involve sitting around a table of food!
Yet, this same mindset is what encourages us to eat huge meals at restaurants or spend hours sitting in a chair talking. Imagine how many steps you could get in during that same amount of time if you were doing something active!
Instead of sitting around with your friends and family, meet up for a walking date at a hiking trail or in a scenic park. If the weather is bad, take a walk around the mall.
2. Take the Scenic Route
The fastest way to get where you’re going is a straight line. This mathematical principle is taught to us early, and you probably don’t even realize you’re using it.
You’re likely always looking for the fastest route, even if it means cutting across a yard to get there. But the path less traveled is often the better way to go!
There are so many reasons to take the scenic route. It’s usually quieter, for one. It gives you some much-needed time to think clearly without rushing, too.
And most importantly, it’s a great way to get extra steps in.
Take the longer block when you’re on a walk. If you’re in the grocery store, shop by your list instead of by efficiency. When you park, choose the farthest spot from the entrance instead of the closest.
No matter where you go on foot, try to take the long way around. One extra minute out of your schedule can be hundreds of extra steps!
3. Pace on Your Calls
What are your habits when you get a phone call?
Do you sit at your desk if it’s work-related, trying to be professional even when no one can see you? If it’s a personal call, do you curl up on your couch, relaxed and ready for gossip?
Unless you’re on a Zoom or another video call that requires you to be still, don’t sit. It may take practice with a couple of conversations before you’re used to it, but pacing or walking during a phone call is a great way to squeeze in some exercise.
Step outside and pace your backyard or walk around the house. For those times when moving around isn’t possible, march in place. Find a way to be active with your body as your mind is engaged in the conversation.
Go slow until you know you’re not going to huff and puff from exhaustion. Eventually, it should become second nature.
4. Set a Timer
When your job is sedentary and doesn’t leave you a lot of time for exercise, you need a reminder to get up and walk. Sitting at your desk or behind the counter for too long can cause chronic health problems.
Sedentary jobs are unhealthy for your circulation, bad for your back, and increase your risk of depression. The more you’re up and going, the better your mental and physical health are likely to be.
Depending on which app you use, it might beep occasionally to remind you to get up. Each app has different settings. For the most part, they have alarms that ring in half-hour or hour intervals.
If you work from home, consider using your microwave or oven timer. This way, you’ll have to get up to shut it off and reset it. At work, set a timer to ring every twenty to thirty minutes, then walk to the bathroom or stand and march in place.
5. Find New Ways to Have Fun
Think about your idea of a fun day. If it involves gluttonous meals sitting on the couch binge-watching your favorite show, you might benefit from finding new ways to have fun.
There are many other forms of entertainment at home and out on the town. Beyond the basics like going to the movies or other sit-down venues, there’s so much to do if you’re active.
Hiking, geocaching, or charity walks are some quick and easy ways to get out of your comfort zone. Even shopping gives you lots of steps!
No matter how busy your day is, take some time to prioritize your health. As the saying goes, if you don’t make time for your wellness, you’ll have to make time for your sickness.
It may not be possible for you to squeeze in an hour at the gym every day or to keep track of your steps. But by using these unique tricks, you can feel good about adding more activity to your day.
Chris DeAngelis is the founder and principal of TriArch Real Estate Group, a multi-strategy real estate investment and property management firm. In this role, Chris oversees all acquisition, management, design, and development activities of the company. He spends much of his time working with Monarch Heights to help them with their marketing efforts.