Here are 7 simple steps to increase your daily step count.
April 7th is National Walking Day, but you don’t need a special occasion to get out and enjoy some fresh air! Especially now that spring is creeping in, there’s no better time to start a new walking habit while admiring the blooming flowers and feeling the fresh breezes.
But life is busy, so if you don’t have hours to wander around a park, it’s helpful to know how to incorporate more walking into your day naturally.
Here are a few ideas on how to incorporate walking into your day:
- Meet friends for a walk instead of lunch
- Take stairs instead of elevators
- Avoid driving to places within walking distance
- Park further away
- Get up and move as often as possible
- Keep sneakers in your trunk
- Schedule “walking meetings”
Let’s talk more about how to incorporate walking into your day with these methods.
Meet friends for a walk instead of lunch
When you want to spend quality time with a friend, the default option is usually meeting for coffee, lunch, or drinks. And there’s still a place for that when gathering guidelines are lifted, but friends who encourage one another to be active can also become healthier and happier together! Suggest a mission to explore all the local nature paths, or schedule a morning to meet every week for a walk around town. Choose a route or time of day that isn’t overly busy to allow for social distancing.
Take stairs instead of elevators
Taking the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator is a great way to get in more steps! You can even lose an extra pound each year just by spending two minutes per day taking the stairs, and it’s good for your muscles and joints too. Be sure to know your limits on how many stairs to climb at one time and check with your doctor before making the switch if you have a medical condition or injury that makes stairs difficult for you.
Avoid driving to places within walking distance
If you live in a walkable neighborhood, take advantage of it! Walk to get your morning coffee, stroll to the park with friends and family, or walk to places like the bank or the library. You’ll save gas and improve your health: it’s a win-win!
Park further away
When driving is unavoidable, you can add extra steps into your routine just by choosing the back of the parking lot. The grocery store, bank, restaurants, the place where you work or volunteer — they’re all great places to get a few extra seconds of activity!
Get up and move as often as possible
If you have a more sedentary job or you often find yourself sitting in your free time, set timers to remind yourself to get up and stretch your legs. It could be as simple as taking the opportunity to refill your reusable water bottle (because hydration is important too!). If you’re reading a book or watching TV, take a walk between rooms or up and down the stairs every few chapters or during commercial breaks.
Keep sneakers in your trunk
When you’re out and about driving on a beautiful day, on your way out of a store, or just decompressing after a long day, you might feel like swinging over to a park or nature trail. Keep a pair of good walking shoes in the trunk of your car for when the mood strikes you — it’s a lot easier to go for spontaneous walks when you’re always ready to actually do it!
Schedule “walking meetings”
If you normally have work, social group, or volunteer meetings in-person or over the phone, a walking meeting could be just the thing to get your creative juices flowing and incorporate more walking into your day. In-person walking meetings are usually best if they can be one-on-one. This will allow you both to stay socially distant — and you might find that your coworkers appreciate the fresh air as much as you.
Need a little extra incentive to incorporate walking into your day? Check out this article about eight health benefits of walking!