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How to Get 10,000 Steps a Day

Ever since I started using my Garmin as a step counter, I’ve realized I don’t get as many steps a day as I thought I did.  10,000 steps is a good guideline to aim for each day.  If I go for a run or a long walk of 2-3 miles, then it’s not too hard, but if I can’t manage that it’s much harder to reach that goal; often just not possible.  To give you an idea, 10,000 steps are roughly equal to 5 miles a day.  You can easily see why many people only hit 5,000, especially with more and more desk jobs or moms who stay at home. So here are a few ideas on how you can reach that goal on days you are struggling to get your steps in:

Set a GOAL.  Most importantly, you need to start by setting your goal, whether it’s 8,000 steps or 12,000 to start.  But, you must set a goal and then each day hold yourself accountable.  

  1. Start early.  My best suggestion is the earlier you get steps in, the better.  Get up earlier if you need to.
  2. Walk with the kids to school or walk them home.  It will be good for both you and the kids and give you time to talk about the day together.  The bonus is that you won’t have to deal with the ridiculous parking lot at the school!  Haha
  3. Think about what you normally do while sitting and if possible do it while on the treadmill, pacing the house or on an exercise bike.  Things like checking emails, talking on the phone or watching TV. 
  4. Put things away, one at a time.  Whether it’s picking up after the kids or grabbing things from the basement and bringing it upstairs.  Add extra steps where you can this way throughout the day.
  5. Walk to a nearby local store instead of driving if it’s a nice day.
  6. Instead of meeting for food, visit a local Metro Park with a friend and check out their walking trails.
  7. Listening to music?  Dance around the house with it.
  8. So you set a GOAL, now it’s time to break that goal and keep working on increasing your steps little by little each day!  See what you can do for a record-breaking day.  Then do it again and again.
  9. If it’s raining out and you don’t have a treadmill, make a loop in your house and just walk!  It might not be exciting but in ten minutes you can get in 1,000 steps.
  10. Hit the mall for a walk.  If you have time, walk extra laps around the mall or store.
  11. Get up every half hour if you sit at a desk most of your day and walk around for 5-10 minutes.  If you own a FitBit or Garmin you can set it up so it beeps or vibrates at you to remind you it’s time to move. 
  12. Park farther away from wherever you go.  It’ll add up.
  13. Use your lunch break wisely; go for a walk or run errands vs. sitting at your desk or in the break room.   
  14. Instead of emailing co-workers, get up and go talk to them.
  15. Check your FitBit or step counter throughout the day!  Keep track of where you are at.  Don’t wait until the end of the day, you may find you are way under your steps.  If you keep track throughout the day you’ll be more likely to get up more often and thus reach your goal.
  16. Take the dog for a walk, if you’re short on time do ten minutes in the morning and ten at night.  Or whatever you can fit in.  Don’t own a dog, neither do I. So, I call up a friend and I go for a walk with them.
  17. Instead of going to the movies on date night, find a Nature Center, River Walk or anywhere scenic you can go for a walk at.
  18. Use the stairs instead of an elevator at the mall.  And if you’re at home and you have stairs, walk or run up and down them any time you can.
  19. Mow the lawn, rake the leaves, shovel the snow, wash the car etc. etc.
  20. Reading emails on your phone or checking Facebook, get off the couch and walk a few laps around the house. 
  21. Use the farthest bathroom instead of the one closest to you.  If you do this every time it can add up.  Bonus if it’s on another floor!
  22. Waiting for a seat at a busy restaurant, if the weather is nice and there’s space, grab the pager and go for a walk while waiting. 
  23. Go for a walk as a family.  Make it fun by playing I-Spy.
  24. We all have a certain time or two during the day we are able to sit and relax for a bit; *before* you sit, get up and do something to get some extra steps in.  (See above suggestions)
  25. If it’s summer and the kids want ice cream or Slurpee’s, find a spot you can walk to.
  26. On vacation, research where there are scenic trails to walk, bike or run.  Bring your walking shoes and fit it into your plans.
  27. Sign up for a 5K or 10K.  Not only will you get some decent steps in and enjoy some vitamin D, but you’ll get outside and have fun while walking or running for a good cause.  Get a friend or the whole family involved too.  It will make great memories.
  28. Make it a HABIT.  Whatever it is you DO, if you do it daily it’ll become a habit and you’ll have no problem reaching your steps!  Happy Walking! 
Theresa W
Author: Theresa W

Theresa is a wife and stay at home mother of 2 boys, David (13) and Aiden (10). Her hobbies include traveling, reading, running, cooking and volunteering at MI Humane Society with the adoptable cats. She also spends her free time serving as PTO President at her son's elementary school. She enjoys being active and is proud to have completed 4 marathons. She loves to share her passion for health and fitness with others.