Research has shown the benefits of getting 10,000 steps a day for your physical and mental health, but how can you make sure you get them?
10,000 is a big number and the thought of trying to get that many steps can definitely be scary, especially if walking isn’t normally part of your routine. But it really doesn’t have to be that scary. These tips can help you get on your way.
Plan a Route – use an App
This might sound simple but planning a route can be a great way to get your steps up. If you plan a circular route you’ll have to complete the circle to get back home, which will make sure you have to stick to the route.
You can also plan your route to be a set amount of km. For the average person 10,000 steps is around 7km, so planning a 5km walk can help you get a big chunk of your steps done in one go.
Planning apps may also give you an estimate of the time it will take you to complete the walk, which can help you work it into your day. Trying to find time is often the trickiest part of getting those steps in as well.
Pick a Podcast the same length as your walk
Once you’ve planned your walk and got an idea of the time, find a podcast that’s around the same length. If you aren’t able to do a circular route listening to a podcast can be a great way to make sure you carry on. You’ll be so interested in the podcast you’ll want to keep going.
Listening to a podcast while walking can also give you an opportunity to learn more about something you’ve always wanted to. You could finally learn all about space, or what’s in today’s news. Or your walk could become a time to disconnect and you could catch up on your favourite entertaining podcast.
By having your walk as the time where you catch up on your favourite podcast can always be a great way to motivate yourself to get steps in. If you only ever listen to podcasts on your walk, when a new episode comes out of your favourite one, you’ll want to go on a walk to listen.
Split your Steps up
If you’re an extremely busy person it can often be hard to find a solid block of time where you can go for a walk, this is where it might be useful to try and break those steps up into smaller walks.
This can be done in a way that works best for you but a great way is, a 20 to 30 minute walk in the morning, another one of the same length at lunchtime and then a slightly longer one in the evening. Doing this makes getting steps in easier to fit into your day.
You could also aim for a specific target number as opposed to a time. For example, say to yourself before 9am I will get 3,000 steps in. These kinds of targets are good because they’ll also include the general steps you do around your home, while getting dressed, food etc.
Walk half of the way
Next time you’re taking a trip that you would normally use public transport for, try walking part of the way. For example, if you take a bus to the office, walk to the next bus stop. It may add an extra five or ten minutes to your day but it will really help with those steps. It can also help you save a bit of money as well.
If you normally drive you could park a bit further away, say at the opposite end of the car park or even a few streets away. This is a really small change that can help make a really big difference.
Go with Friends
Going on a walk with friends is a great way to get some social time in and also get steps in. Not only does it make the walk go quicker because you’re chatting away it also gives you a commitment to stick to. For example, if you say to a friend we’ll go for a walk at 5pm, it ties you to an event which will make sure you go.
Start with a smaller goal and work your way up
If having a daily step goal is new to you, it might be a good idea to start with a smaller goal. If you normally get 3000 steps in, maybe set the goal as 5000 and once you consistently hit that raise it by another thousand. Setting manageable goals is the best way to hit goals, and its also a lot less scary than aiming for 10,000 straight away.
So, there’s a lot of things you can do that can help you reach this new goal. But the most important thing is finding a way that works for you. As soon as you find the best way for you and your routine, you’ll be smashing 10,000 steps out everyday.