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Creative Tips for Increasing Daily Walking Steps

Updated on September 4, 2012

We all know that getting daily exercise is an important factor in staying fit, maintaining or losing weight, and being healthy overall. And, we have all heard the recommendation that people walk at least 10,000 steps per day to maintain good health.

To get to 10,000 steps, most people need to consciously increase their activity beyond their normal daily routine. One great way to increase steps is to make time for exercise by going to the gym or outside to do your favorite exercise (walking, jogging, biking).

There are many additional ways to get in add extra steps into your daily routine, without drastic changes to your lifestyle. Little steps here and there can add up and before you know it, you’ll be at 10,000 steps!

Here are some ideas for how to increase your daily steps at home, while out and about, and while at work. I've given step equivalents for all activities.

So, clip on your pedometer, and start counting!

Increase Steps At Home

  • Pace or walk around the house when on the phone. Why stand in the kitchen or lie on the couch while talking on the phone? Walk around the house while chatting instead. One 10-minute conversation = 1,000 steps
  • Pace while brushing your teeth. It may sound funny, but really, there’s no reason to stand still while brushing. Plus, it is recommended that you brush for a full 2 minutes, so why not get some extra steps in at the same time? Pacing while brushing teeth: 200 steps
  • Watch less TV. Think about it. What would you be doing if you weren’t watching TV? Probably something more active. If you do watch TV, try to watch less and use that newly found time to do something active instead. At the very least, get up at each commercial break and take a walk around the house or apartment. This will also help curb the increased appetite that can come with food-related commercials. Walking for one 3-minute commercial break = 300 steps

Increase Steps Out and About

  • Walk the aisles at the store. Explore a little while shopping. Walk up and down all the aisles in the store (though perhaps skip the candy aisle!) You may find some new ingredients for dinner or that knick knack you’ve been meaning to buy for the house. One grocery store trip = 400-600 steps
  • Park your car further away from your destination. We are all so well trained to find the closest spot possible, but park at the edge of the parking lot and you easily add steps to your day. Round trip walk to car = 200-400 steps
  • Walk or bike to the store. Even better, ditch your car and walk or bike to your errands. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 60% of trips made to run errands are less than 1 mile away. Biking 1 mile each way to the store = 1,200 steps

Increase Steps at Work

  • Take the long way to and from the bathroom. Drinking extra water will mean more trips, plus is good for your overall health as well. Three daily bathroom trips x 200 extra steps each way = 1,200 steps
  • Walk while reading. Have a long report you need to slog through? Read it while walking! If you’re lucky, you may have a long, quiet hallway that you can pace as you read. 10 minutes of walking slowly while reading = 600 steps
  • Walk around the block for a break. Instead of sitting in the cafeteria chatting or eating snack, grab a colleague and take a walk around the block. This will also stimulate creative thinking and revitalize you, especially during afternoon doldrums. 10 minute walk around the block = 1,000 steps
  • Walk or bike to work. Again, your ability to do this will depend on how far away you live from your office, but if you live close enough, biking to work is a great way to build exercise right into your day. Many workplaces even have showers these days. 3-mile bike ride 2x per day = 4,500 steps

Reaching 10,000 Steps

Getting up to 10,000 steps per day doesn't mean having to spend hours at the gym or suffering through unpleasant workouts. Adding steps here and there throughout the day, at home, while out and about, or at work will help you adopt a more active lifestyle and reach the recommended 10,000 daily steps.


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    • jo miller profile image

      Jo Miller 13 months ago from Tennessee

      Perfect time to find this article. It's January 1st and I have a new Fitbit. Thanks for the good tips----and Happy New Year.

    • LauraGT profile image

      LauraGT 5 years ago from MA

      Thanks Rusticliving! Actually, as the storm pours down, I'm thinking I'm going to have to be even more creative about getting steps in this winter. Will be playing lots of chase around the house with my kids!

    • Rusticliving profile image

      Elizabeth Rayen 5 years ago from California

      Oo0oo.... This is such a great hub! I need to do more walking and I love all the tips. I'm making a point of taking those extra steps from now on... Feeling very motivated! Thank you so much for sharing! Lisa Thumbs Up and shared!

    • LauraGT profile image

      LauraGT 5 years ago from MA

      Farmloft: I think a pedometer is a great way to see how you're doing. You may be surprised (one way or the other!) And, once you have one, I think you'll be surprised by how easy it is to add steps. Good luck!

    • farmloft profile image

      farmloft 5 years ago from Michigan

      10,000 steps does sound daunting. I wonder how many I do normally? Thanks for the tips and the encouragement to get a pedometer.

    • profile image

      Rious 5 years ago

      awesome tips, voted useful

    • LauraGT profile image

      LauraGT 5 years ago from MA

      Pamela99: Yes, a pedometer is a great motivator! I think people are pretty surprised the first time they put one on to see what their normal activity levels are. Have fun.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 5 years ago from United States

      Great suggestions. I have tried to increase activity time, but I think I need to buy a pedometer to really know what I am doing each day. Very useful hub.

    • LauraGT profile image

      LauraGT 5 years ago from MA

      rfmoran: Thanks for reading! Yes, reading while walking can be a bit challenging, but it can work if you can find a low-traffic, long, wide hallway somewhere in your building. :)

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Solid common sense stuff that we often ignore. I live in a big old house and do a 1/2 hour power walk every day. I turn on TVs in a few rooms so I can follow the news. I'm not sure about reading while walking though. Once tried it and tripped over my dog, who did not read your Hub. Voted up and useful

    • LauraGT profile image

      LauraGT 5 years ago from MA

      Cybershelley: Glad to help!

      KrystalD: Exactly! I think just thinking more actively is a step in the right direction, so to speak. :)

    • KrystalD profile image

      KrystalD 5 years ago from Los Angeles

      Very helpful hub! We can all use more exercise and this hub definitely makes it clear that it does not take money or even a lot of time. Voting up and useful :)

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 5 years ago

      At work I do 8000 steps it's finding the other 2000 - and you have just helped me. Thanks. Voted up and shared

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      What terrific ideas for increasing exercise as part of our daily routine. I appreciate especially that you gave the steps = minutes x activity. Great stuff.

    • LauraGT profile image

      LauraGT 5 years ago from MA

      AdT70: Thanks for reading. Glad to give you some new ideas!

    • LauraGT profile image

      LauraGT 5 years ago from MA

      Janine Huldie: Thanks for stopping by. Being in motion most of the day is a great way to increase steps! Thanks for sharing and voting up.

    • AdT70 profile image

      AdT70 5 years ago

      Janine, i'm in constant motion too but walking around while on the phone gave me a new place to put that motion to use. love it!

    • Janine Huldie profile image

      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Totally like your ideas on how to increase your walking steps. I do try to do a lot of these everyday and am in constant motion for most of the day myself. Thanks for the tip and am voting this up and sharing too?