The recommendation of getting in 10,000 steps a day has been around for decades. It originates from a marketing campaign conducted before the start of the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games in which a company began selling a pedometer called the Manpo-kei. ‘Man’ means 10,000, ‘po’ means steps and ‘kei’ means meter. The number stuck from then on in! It is recommended to walk this daily, however on first glance, 10,000 steps can seem intimidating. This does not mean to say you need to go on daily hikes, but just simple steps to increase your movement throughout the day.
If you’re new to walking, you can start by setting a step goal which works for you. It is important to download a step count app to your smartphone and start assessing the average steps you do over 3 days in your normal routine. Once that has been established, add 1,000 more and build up to it. Once you hit that target for several days, increase by another 1,000 until you have formed a pattern. The gradual increase will allow your body to work at its own pace and not feel exhausted. To help you sneak in more steps, Joanna Dase, fitness expert at Curves.eu, has shared the little things you can do which will equal big step counts.
1. Stroll around the shops
When you go shopping, you’re naturally unaware of the steps you are taking. The countless aisles you walk down, and time taken to go to each shop can all add up. Whilst shopping, you can increase your step count even more. You can take the long way round town to get to your destination, park a little further away from the shops than usual or even take a lap around the entire shop before you start shopping.
2. Listen to podcasts
Podcasts are a great way to keep you occupied during a walk and can help pass time quicker. Choose episodes that are up to the length of time you need to hit your step count and as your brain will be focused on the podcast, not how long the walk is, you’ll easily reach your fitness goals.
3. Take the stairs
You’d be surprised how your actions become habits. If you enter a shop and the escalators are in full view, you’d be more inclined to choose this option. However, taking the stairs will increase your step count and leg power. If there are too many flights of stairs for you to take, use the lift or escalators for halfway and walk the rest. Getting used to stair climbing will help you build and maintain healthy bones and joints.
4. Warm up walks
When you are training, it’s important to warm up your body to prevent any long-term injuries. This could be a quick walk around the block before you’re At-Home Workout to get your heart rate going or walking to your fitness club before a session. This will increase your step count but also loosen up your joints and muscles. Listening to upbeat music can help increase the length and speed of your walks.
5. Get off a stop early
If you use public transport in your daily endeavours, hop off one stop early and walk the rest. By walking at a brisk pace, you could easily increase your step count. The first few times you do this, it will be difficult, and you’ll be tempted to not continue. However, it’s important to keep going as it’ll form a habit and promote heart and lung health.
6. Walk whilst your wait
Waiting around for anything can lead to frustration, but sometimes you can’t avoid it – doctors’ surgeries, opticians, dentists, etc. Instead of sitting in one spot and clock watching, you can use the time to boost your fitness. Either go for a 10-minute walk outside or walk around the building or carpark, this will increase blood flow throughout the body and boost your mental health.
7. Change up your exercise moves
Simple exercises can help increase your step count in your workouts. Think movements such as side stepping or overhead side to side reaches. Even though they don’t indicate how many miles you walked, they still count as steps.