Many 9-to-5 jobs require tasks that are primarily sedentary, which means that you spend more time sitting than actively moving. Whether you’re sitting at a desk staring at a computer screen or participating in long meetings or conferences, it can be difficult to reach your daily step goal.
The American Heart Association recommends a 10,000 step per day goal to maintain a healthy lifestyle and decrease the risk of heart disease. People who reach this goal are often also rewarded with lower blood pressure and blood glucose levels as well as have an easier time maintaining their weight.
Although 10,000 steps is a reasonable daily step goal for many people, it’s not ideal for everyone. If you’re just getting started with a regular active lifestyle or recovering from an injury, aim for a lower goal and gradually add steps until you can comfortably walk 10,000 steps in a day. A lower number of steps is also acceptable for people over age 65.
On the flip side, people with an already active lifestyle can aim for a higher daily step goal to continue to challenge themselves. If your goal is to lose weight, you’ll want to reach for a higher target. Children between the ages of 6 and 12 are naturally more active and will likely surpass the 10,000 mark as well.
Since 10,000 steps roughly translates to about five miles of walking per day, it’s easy to understand how this goal could sound daunting for someone who works in an office environment. However, it’s not impossible to reach your target step count as long as you’re willing to put in a little bit of effort.
Here are some ideas to help you get moving at work and throughout the day:
Take a Walking Break
Not only is taking a ten-minute break occasionally good for your mental state and productivity but it’s also an opportunity to get up and move. Do more than sit at your desk and browse the internet, which does little for either your mind or body, and instead use your time wisely to squeeze in some physical activity. Leave the building, get some fresh air and go for a brisk walk around the block. A ten-minute walk can easily add 1,000 steps to your day. Plus, a change of scenery can do wonders to clear your mind and get you recharged to tackle your next project once you return to your desk.
Use the Stairs
If you work in a multi-level building, there’s a good chance you may missing out on an easy way to add steps to your day. Instead of taking the easy way out and using the elevator, opt for the stairs instead. Each flight of stairs contains on average 12 steps, which can quickly add up if you have to climb several flights.
Choose a Walkable Lunch/Snack Destination
Instead of driving to pick up food or coffee, find a spot within a few blocks that you can walk to and burn some calories en route to your meal. You’ll feel better about indulging in whatever treat your desire if you’ve put in the effort to get there. Depending on the length of your walk, you can likely add an extra 1,000 or more steps to your daily count.
It may be easier to send an email or pick up the phone to ask your co-worker a question but you’re missing a prime opportunity to add a few more steps to your daily count. Back away from your desk and make the effort to walk across the room to talk to your colleague face-to-face. You’ll receive an immediate response and will have managed to stretch your legs too.
Choose a Less Convenient Bathroom
Sure there may be a bathroom located just around the corner from your desk but if you take the time to seek out another location across the building or on a different floor then you’ll be able to add some extra steps to your daily count. If your office only has the one bathroom, take the long route to add to your step count.
Park Farther Away
Parking at the back of the lot seems like a simple way to get more steps but people often seek the closest parking spot instead. Getting a prime parking spot will likely only save you a minute or two, which is time that could be spent getting your steps in. Plus, you won’t have to fight for a spot if you automatically gravitate towards the unwanted spots.
Take Advantage of Public Transportation
If you commute to work using a bus or subway, you’ll likely have multiple options for which stop to exit and you probably choose the one that’s closest to work. By choosing the stop before or after your regular one, you can use the last few blocks to walk to work, clear your head and rack up some extra steps before settling in at your desk.
Use Technology as a Reminder
Whether you use a fitness tracking device to monitor your daily activity or not, you can still incorporate technology in some form to remind you to move. Many trackers offer a nudge feature that will remind you to move every hour if you’ve been sedentary for too long. You can also set a similar reminder on your phone or computer to remind you to get up and move every so often. You should also capture this data to add to your wellness portal. This is especially helpful if you often find yourself in a work trance for hours without movement. Plus, it’s best to spread the steps out throughout the day to consistently be moving without long sedentary breaks to receive the full benefits.
Reaching Your Daily Step Goal
By following these suggestions, you should find your step count increasing steadily throughout the day. Remember it’s not always about the destination but the journey instead. By taking a few extra minutes and putting in a little extra effort to move, you’ll find that you feel better both mentally and physically. Before you know it, you’ll be reaching your 10,000 daily step goal!