5 ways to increase your daily step count (and why it’s important)...
Things you’ll learn from this blog…
Did you know, on average, it takes 1 hour and 40 minutes to hit your daily target of 10,000 steps?
Walking, and moving in general, is one of the best ways to stay healthy and boost your weight loss. It’s a way to burn extra calories without really having to exercise. And because it’s pretty easy to do (much easier than a challenging workout), you can do it every day without getting sore.
However, we know that if you’re busy working and running about after kids, you probably don’t have all that spare time to hit your step goals every day. So, it is no surprise that according to the CDC, less than half of Americans meet the 10,000-step goal.
Want some good news?
Whether you do one long walk, two medium ones, or lots of little walks throughout the day doesn't matter. It will still burn calories and give your diet a helping hand.
So this blog will give you some quick and simple tips to increase your daily step count.
- Related content: HIT vs. LISS: what’s the difference, and which was better?
Should you walk 10,000 steps a day?
10,000 steps per day are the magic number that we’re all told to focus on.
But did you know Doctors or medical professionals didn’t inform that number?
It was developed by a Japanese marketing team in 1965 when the pedometer was invented to help tackle obesity in Japan. The pedometer was named Manpo-Kei (which translates to the 10,000-step meter), and the recommendation has been based on this ever since.
So, do you need to take 10,000 steps?
Research from JAMA International Medicine suggests that even getting half of the recommended 10,000 steps per day has various health benefits, including decreased risk of death.
It’s becoming increasingly common to believe that even small amounts of exercise and physical activity can improve health outcomes. Ten thousand is a good target to have and achievable for most, but even if that’s not possible, you should try to walk as many steps as possible.
This is good news for people who have sedentary lifestyles or struggle to get out and walk.
How does walking help you lose weight?
So, while the exact number might be in question, there is no doubt that moving your body and walking is beneficial to your overall health - especially if you are trying to lose weight.
To lose weight, you need to create a calorie deficit by burning more calories than you eat - but it isn’t easy to do this just through exercise.
A 30-minute workout might burn 250 calories (at a push!) And it’s unrealistic to try and work out every day.
So we need easier, more sustainable ways to boost that calorie burn. You use a lot of calories just by being alive (this is called your BMR), but you can’t alter that number every day.
Around 30% of your daily calorie burn is through NEAT, which stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis. It means any activity that isn’t formal exercise. Like gardening, DIY, or – you guessed it – walking! So, you can see how increasing your step count can help you lose weight.
- Related content: HIT vs. LISS: what is the difference?
5 easy ways to increase your step count…
It’s really important to remember that reaching your step goal doesn’t have to look like exercise. You might have time to get outside or on a treadmill and rack up 10,000 steps in one go.
But if you can’t, don’t worry - there are loads of ways to increase your step count by making small changes to your daily routine.
Every step you take counts towards your final total, and there are many ways to help achieve this.
1. Go walking with a friend…
Have you got a friend who also wants to increase their step count?
Why not stay fit and keep each other accountable?
Arrange to meet at a set time and place to catch up while walking. You can easily cover 3,000 steps together in the time it would take to have a cuppa.
And chatting with friends is great for your mental well-being too!
2. Walk and talk…
How many phone calls do you take in a day?
If you took those calls on the move, you’d rack up a few thousand extra steps. Pop some earphones in and head out for a walk – or even pace around your house.
It’s amazing how many steps you can take while on hold!
3. Leave the car at home…
It’s easy to jump in the car to pick the kids up from school or the local shops. But if you can, walking there instead is a great way to add a few hundred steps to your daily count without noticing.
And it’s also good for the environment (and your travel budget)!
A 10-minute walk…
One hour and 40 minutes sound like a lot, but no rule says you have to do 10,000 steps.
If you’ve got 10 minutes to spare, don’t spend it scrolling social media. Get outside and go for a walk. You could cover around 10,000 steps in 10 minutes. Add that to your walk around the supermarket and cleaning your house, and you’re probably halfway there.
Use your lunch break…
Whether you WFH, in an office, or on-site, you need to have a break in the middle of the day.
It’s tempting to grab a coffee and sit down somewhere, but why not head out for a walk?
Stick your favorite album, audiobook, or podcast to get some steps in. It will help tackle that afternoon slump too.
Ready to walk more?
Even though the number 10,000 might have been plucked out of thin air - it’s certainly not a bad idea to try and increase your steps. And 10,000 is a nice, even number to aim for.
It can seem overwhelming to begin with, especially if you are low on time and energy. However, it’s worth remembering that all steps count - not just the ones that you take outside on a treadmill. That includes walking around the grocery store with a shopping cart or chasing after a toddler.
Losing weight doesn’t have to be complicated. We’ve got your back with easy everyday tips to help you stay in your healthiest shape.
If you’re struggling with making simple changes that help you achieve your weight loss goals then you can read more here.