How to increase your step count
As we mentioned above, unless we have a very active job, achieving 10,000 steps in a day can be tricky. But there are ways to increase our step count, without too much effort or extra time.
If you drive or commute to work, try to get into the habit of parking a little further away or getting off the bus/train/tube a few stops earlier and continuing the rest of the way on foot. When you get to work, take the stairs rather than the lift and instead of sending an email to a colleague, take a walk to their desk. (You can always follow up with a “further to our conversation, I can confirm XYZ” email if you need a paper trail.)
Walking to the shops may prove difficult if you have a lot of heavy groceries to carry back, but popping out for a few bits and leaving the car at home will certainly help to increase your steps.
But the best way to increase your step count is to purposefully go for a walk. You don’t have to suddenly start walking miles, you can gradually increase the amount of time you’re active over a few weeks and months.
Perhaps spend your lunch time walking around the block, or fit in a 20 minute walk before or after work. Take the kids with you for a walk if they’re pre-school age or pick them up from school on foot. On lighter evenings, get a group of friends or neighbours together and take a long walk discovering parts of town you didn’t know were there.
Obviously, the better the weather, the more likely we are to want to go outside for a walk. But even if it’s cold and wet, the benefits of walking in the Great Outdoors far outweigh the frizzy hair and cold toes.
If you’re the sort of person who needs an endpoint or a purpose on a walk, it can be hard to gain the motivation you need to simply go for a walk. Listening to music or a podcast while walking can help make it feel more purposeful. Or making a point of noticing nature doing its thing, such as moss and weeds growing in guttering or flowers pushing their way through the cracks in the pavement.
Failing that, you could always get a puppy. They’ll soon let you know when it’s time for walkies!