Let’s face it, when it comes to finding time in your busy schedule to work out, it can seem nearly impossible. At times, dragging yourself from your desk to the treadmill can feel more like a chore rather than something that’s actually beneficial to you, and hitting your 10,000 steps on a dreary day? Forget about it!
We feel you. That’s why we’ve come up with a few alternatives so you don’t have to feel guilty on the days when life just gets in the way of your step goals.
Power walk everywhere. Plug in those earphones, press shuffle on your favorite playlist, and pick up the pace on your commute. “While the old adage, something is better than nothing, does apply to walking, studies have also shown that increasing your walking speed can result in additional calories burned during and post workout,” says John Ford, certified exercise physiologist, who runs JKF Fitness & Health in New York City. “The sweet spot for this speed increase is from 4.1mph to 4.6mph, which is a pretty brisk pace.” Be sure to keep one ear bud out if you’re walking in a busy area to stay aware of your surroundings. And keep in mind that power walking to the bathroom or across the office counts too.
Hop off at an earlier bus stop. Never underestimate the number of steps in one or two extra blocks. If your commute involves public transportation, this is a great way to rally them up fast. Hop off the bus four or five blocks before your stop and you’ll be surprised how quickly you reach your mark that day. “Walking is a really good form of exercise that can help you reach your fitness and weight loss goals,” says Ford. “In fact, walking is the suggested workout over running for many people, including those with knee, ankle, and back problems, and for people who are overweight.” If you drive to work, consider parking further away so you can take a brisk stroll to the front door.
Take the stairs. This tip may seem obvious, but it’s extremely effective nonetheless, burning more calories per minute than jogging. It’s as simple as this: If you have access to stairs, use them. Skipping the elevator will activate your butt, hips, and thigh muscles. Not only will you squeeze in extra steps but you’ll be getting a mini workout too. Go you!
Schedule walking meetings. If possible, schedule walking meetings with your colleagues to amp up those steps during the day. Chances are your coworkers will be just as happy to take a stroll outside rather than sitting in a conference room. “Fitness and health experts often suggest incorporating interval walking into your daily routine,” says Ford. “Remember, as long as you hit your 150 minutes a week, you can break down your fitness walks into 10- 15- and 20-minute spurts throughout your day.” Plus, you’ll be walking and talking, so you won’t even notice!
Get outside for lunch. Dead butt syndrome bringing you down? Luckily, there’s an easy fix—you guessed it, walking! Sitting at a desk all day is not only unhealthy, but you’re destined to get a sore bum. Get outside when you can, and the Vitamin D will help boost your energy and mood too.
Work mini rituals into your morning routine. Hit those hourly step goals by simply doing toe taps or moseying about your home while brushing your teeth or hair in the morning. You’ll be surprised how much you can do in the two or three minutes that it takes to brush your teeth.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for medical diagnosis or treatment. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.