Last year, I got a fitbit and quickly became addicted to…o.k., maybe obsessed with…getting steps. It tied in nicely with my overall plan to get fit and helped keep me motivated and moving, both of which I needed, and I set myself the target of 10,000 steps a day – which is the number recommended by pretty much every website out there.
I thought it would be easy. It wasn’t. I have a desk-based job and – it turns out – rarely took more than 5,000 steps a day unless I was on the road or rushing between meetings. So, slowly, I built up my steps, adding activities that would help me reach that magic number. It worked and now, without too much effort, I regularly hit my new target of 12,500.
I mentioned it on twitter a while ago and found I wasn’t alone in the need of adding steps so I thought I’d share some of my favourite tricks for getting moving…
1. Walk while you’re on the phone: I spend a lot of time on conference calls or ringing people up to see where we are on a project. I used to do it at my desk, staring at the screen and often trying to multi-task, answering emails or writing reports, which actually never worked out quite as well as I thought it would. Now I walk, sometimes in place when I do need to look at the screen. It adds a lot of steps and, because I’m not trying to do other work, has the added benefit of keeping me focused.
2. Go up and down every aisle in the supermarket: I should probably caveat this one by saying I only do this on my weekly shop, not when I’m popping in to get a pint of milk. It might seem like it would take up too much time but, if you look at your list, you probably go into the majority of aisles anyway so you aren’t adding too much time onto your shopping trip – and you might spot a bargain whilst your at it!
3. Avoid the lifts and escalators: Again, caveated by most of the places I go aren’t more than four flights up or down – more than that, I might struggle and I don’t want anyone to collapse from getting steps – but the principle stands that if you are standing still while machinery moves you, you aren’t adding steps. Walking up and down stairs, you are, and often without adding any time to your journey.
4. Park at the far side of the car park: Unlike number 3, this might add a few minutes to your journey but it’s worth it – not just for the steps but for the fact that not having to try and battle other drivers for a space reduces stress (at least for me!).
5. Go for a walk while my daughter does cartwheels or somersaults: I spend a lot of time taking my daughter places for after-school activities and then a lot of time sitting watching her. Now she’s older, I don’t need to do this, so I go for a walk instead. If the weather’s bad, I take a tour of the building.
6. Set my fitbit to remind me to move: Probably an obvious one but the buzz on my wrist at ten to the hour makes me get up and get some steps in. It also helps make sure I take a break from staring at the screen.
7. Walk rather than wait: Whenever I have an appointment, I used to go in if I was early, sit down and take out my book. Now I walk around the block and go in as late as I can without being late.
8. Go the long way round: I used to try and get from A to B in the quickest possible way. Not anymore. As long as I can make it in time, I meander through the streets, adding to my journey but also giving me a chance to spend time thinking and just taking in my surroundings.
And that’s it – nothing too hard I don’t think. What about you – are you step-obsessed and how to you get to your “magic number”?
Fitness image: Designed by Freepik