Walking is one of the easiest and most beneficial ways to build activity into your life. You’ve may have heard that studies suggest walking 10,000 steps a day for better health. 10,000 steps per day is probably more than you think. On average, a person’s stride length is approximately 2.5 feet long, which means one mile takes the average person over 2,000 steps. So, as you can see, 10,000 steps equates to close to 5 miles.
Most people are lucky if they get 3,000 steps a day. If you want to up your quotient of strides per day, consider the below ideas. You might want to purchase a pedometer to really get a sense of how many strides you are walking.
- Commuting: If you live in a city, skip public transportation and walk instead. If your commute is a bit far for you to walk the whole distance, get off the train or bus a few stops early so that you walk 10 to 15 minutes of your trip.
- Walk the Dog: Dogs need to be walked at least twice a day. If you usually let the dog out, start walking him instead. If you like animals but don’t have a dog, consider getting one to motivate you to get out and about. Some more active breeds include Border Collies and Labradors.
- Running Errands: Walk (or bike) to the local store instead of driving. Not only do you get some activity getting to and from your destination, but you’ll also get some additional activity from carrying your purchases.
- Parking: Although parking close to the entrance of a building may seem more appealing; make the effort to park in a spot farther away. Walking to and from your car a few times a day can quickly add up to some decent distance.
- Starting or Ending Your Day: Take a walk before breakfast and/or after dinner. Even if you can only squeeze in five to ten minutes, it’s better than nothing. Walking after dinner, especially, is beneficial because it helps to facilitate digestion, minimizing a full stomach at bedtime.
- Take an Active Lunch: Instead of eating at your desk, or going out with friends to a restaurant, make your lunch more active. Brainstorm with a colleague while taking a walk. Run errands. Or, go shopping.
- At Work: If you sit all day at work, get up from your desk every hour to stretch. Walk to a colleague’s office down the hall instead of calling them on the phone to talk. Instead of using facilities on your own floor, take the stairs to a different floor for coffee or to go to the bathroom.
Do you know how many strides you take each day? What do you think you get up to?
Adapted from 52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You. Make real, lasting change with this easy to follow, week-by-week guide to healthy change. Get it now at Amazon.com.