There are a million ways to get in more steps, but let’s focus on a few that are easy to do.
First things first: To get your step count up you have to know how many steps a day you’re already taking (that’s where your Fitbit device comes in). Next, you simply have to take more steps—there’s no shortcut or smart way around it. Agreed? Here are my five favorite ways to sneak in steps throughout the day so that walking feels like less of a chore and more a part of your daily activity.
1. Get Your Family Involved
When it comes to fitness, teamwork can make the dream work. Whether that means running with your partner, getting your kids to walk a bit more, or convincing your parents to improve their heart health by racking up steps, getting your family involved is key to logging more steps. Get an activity tracker, like Fitbit Ace, for your kids, or gift your partner a Fitbit Ionic or Fitbit Versa; you’ll be surprised how quickly logging steps turns into friendly competition.
To make walking a part of your family’s routine, incorporate it into everyday activities. Instead of dropping your kids off in front of the school, park the car farther away and encourage everyone to get in extra steps. If you’re planning a date night, suggest walking to the venue instead of driving; you’ll get in steps while minimizing your carbon footprint.
2. Adopt A Pet
While you should always make sure you’re prepared for the responsibility of caring for a pet, adding a furry friend to your family could be a great way to get in extra steps. Caring for a dog means you’ll have to walk it, and that means you’ll get in extra steps and fresh air while chatting with other dog owners and having fun with your pup. My family has three dogs. I walk them after breakfast, in the afternoon when I pick up my daughters from school, and again at night. That helps me reach my daily goal of 10,000 steps.
3. Take The Stairs
I always say half jokingly that walking up the stairs gives me a firm butt but it’s also an easy way to get in more steps. The benefits add up quickly. Instead of taking the elevator on the way to your office, take the stairs. When you get off the train, forgo the escalator and take the stairs. The next time you stay in a hotel or walk-up building, take the stairs at least once on your trip.
4. Explore Your Neighborhood
Curiosity is key to exploration, and the more you explore the more steps you’ll get. If you’re a fairly new resident, take the opportunity to explore a mile radius in every direction of your home. At work, use your smartphone to find interesting places nearby to walk to on your lunch break. You’ll learn about your city and environment while taking in fresh air and racking up steps.
When I went to Australia for the Santos Tour Down Under, I walked up to the ANZAC World War II memorial. ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, which I would have never learned without walking there. When I went to Philadelphia, I walked up to the famous stairs from the Rocky movies only to realize that they removed the Rocky statue. While that was a disappointment for me as a tourist, it was still worth the walk. Once in Boston, I walked from my hotel to do the full Boston Tea Party experience. It was fantastic. I got fresh air and the chance to experience some street food along the way. The extra cab fare I saved was a bonus.
5. Get Outside
Walking is full of unforeseen surprises and encounters. While exploring one day, I came across a street musician who played the most heart-touching version of Beethoven’s “Für Elise”. It was so unexpectedly wonderful that it almost brought tears to my eyes.
Another way I like to get in my steps while interacting with my environment is through geocaching. It’s a game of hide and seek which happens all over the world. People hide little objects and give you hints with some coordinates. You follow the hints and try to find the object. There’s a site where you can register for free and a log book to sign your name. It’s a fun adventure. My son Julian and I have already found over 1,000 caches. I’ve played in Australia, India, Canada, Chile, Brazil, and many locations throughout Europe. There is always a cache in walking distance no matter which city in the world you are in. That alone should give you a reason to walk from your hotel.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. 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.