With the majority of Americans leading a sedentary lifestyle, chances are
most of us could benefit from a new fitness challenge to find new energy,
perk up emotionally, and generally improve our health. If you need to
shake off the fitness doldrums, try taking some steps—as in 10,000
walking steps each day.
Walking isn’t just a leisure activity; it’s real exercise.
Research shows that taking 10,000 steps a day is about the same as adding
30 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity to your normal routine.
If 10,000 seems like an overwhelming number, follow these tips for sustained
daily walking. You’ll be on your way to better fitness in no time.
Commit – Start by making a reasonable commitment to yourself such as “two
months / 10,000 steps per day.” The act of writing down a simple
short range commitment keeps your goal top of mind when you get busy and
helps you stay on track. You’ll be surprised at the difference a
simple note posted to your bathroom mirror or sign taped to your pantry
door can make.
Track– To help increase walking, use a pedometer or similar device to
record your activity. Some activity trackers clip to your waistband, while
others can be worn like a watch. Some popular devices like the Fitbit,
Garmin Vivoactive, or TomTom Runner Cardio offer mobile apps and online
dashboards for setting goals such as daily distance, floors climbed, and
calories burned. All of that can take your fitness tracking to a whole
Share– Sharing your health goals with your friends and family will help
you find new motivation. Building a support system of advocates who want
you to succeed makes the process of modifying your behavior a group effort.
Challenge– Who doesn’t like a friendly competition? A challenge is one
of the most powerful ways to improve activity. Consider challenging your
friends and family to daily/weekly/monthly fitness feats. Some of the
popular tracking devices make setting up challenges fun and easy because
they enable you to quickly invite people to compete with you and offer
simple badges and congratulatory emails to celebrate success.
Reward – Many people find that last bit of extra motivation by creating
rewards for goals met. Have your eye on a new pair of shoes or a new outfit?
What better way to justify a little indulgence than to tie a new purchase
to a fitness goal? You can also try a group reward for a weekend trip
or meal out at a trendy new restaurant once you’ve hit your milestone.
And if you have trouble reaching your initial goal, don’t get discouraged.
Stick with the step count you’re able to maintain. Your strength
will increase over time.