Walking more is one of the simplest items of health advice there is. Walking helps prevent disease and requires little equipment. All you need is a comfortable pair of shoes!

Many fitness apps and articles discuss a goal of taking 10,000 steps in a day, which is roughly equivalent to the Surgeon General’s recommendation to accumulate 30 minutes of activity most days of the week to reduce your risk for major diseases. But with many spending their days working at desks and spending more time indoors, it is increasingly hard for people to reach the 10,000 step goal – so much so, according to the CDC, less than half of Americans meet the 10,000 step goal. But, there are plenty of easy ways to boost your step count with a few changes in habit:

1. Utilize Your Lunch Break

Most jobs provide a thirty minute to hour lunch break, but there are many Americans who do not utilize their break. Try grabbing your lunch and walking to a more scenic location to eat. Even if you need to eat at your desk due to scheduling constraints, find another time during the day when you can take your break and step away for a quick walk. Twenty minutes of brisk walking will knock out a fifth of your daily recommended steps.

2. Take the Stairs

Elevators and escalators are great inventions to help us reach high-level floors and transport heavy items floor to floor. But these modern marvels don’t do much for your daily step count! Instead, take the stairs when possible. On average, you can add 270 steps to your day with each minute spent climbing stairs.

3. Pace Around

Pacing may seem like an awkward habit, but your steps quickly add up! Think of all the daily tasks you do while standing still and resolve to move around instead. In the two minutes it takes to brush your teeth, you can add up to 240 steps on average. You can also pace while you wait for the elevator, your lunch order, while your food microwaves – the options are endless!

4. Go the Distance

How often do you drive around the parking lot looking for a premium spot? Next time you go to the store, or arrive at your office, save some gas and park farther away! Pick the farthest space from the door that you can find, maybe on the opposite side of the building. If you happen to live close by your destination, walk there rather than driving.

5. Take Calls on the Move

If you have a work cellphone, this small change of habit can easily be a huge step towards your 10,000 step goal. Even if your business calls are restrained to the desk, you can pace in place at your desk and take personal calls on-the-go. Even if you just have time to make it around the block once, you’ll add about 200 steps on average.

6. Take the Long Way

Heading down the hall to refill your coffee cup or to the copy machine? On the way to the restroom? Take the long way, or choose the farthest coffee station or restroom from your desk. This will allow you to get in extra steps a few times a day during your usual routine. Bonus points if your route includes a staircase!

7. Set an Alarm

Set an alarm on your phone or watch to remind you to get up and get active at least once an hour at the office. Walk from one end of the building to the other and back again. Even if it is to just take a quick lap around your area, you’ll rack up the steps by the end of the day.

8. Walk it out

Got a question for a co-worker? Head down the hall to speak with them face to face rather than calling them or sending them an email. This will get you up and away from your desk while increasing your daily step count. (Bonus – this will also improve your interpersonal skills!)


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