One way to increase your step count is to take at least one 30-60 minute walk during the day, but that is not always possible. In that case, you need to find ways to consciously add more steps into your day.
Before I list my 9 tips, let’s take a look at some basic pedometer walking facts. You might find them useful in estimating how much physical activity (in minutes) you need to add to your day to reach a certain step count. The figures are based on Fenton and Bassett’s pedometer walking guide.
1 minute of leisurely walking corresponds to 100 steps (500 steps in 5 minutes)
1 minute of moderate walking corresponds to 120 steps (600 steps in 5 minutes)
1 minute of brisk walking corresponds to 135 steps (575 steps in 5 minutes)
1 minute of aerobic walking corresponds to 150 steps (750 steps in 5 minutes)
Here are my 9 tips for logging more steps on your pedometer:
- Use commercial breaks to walk around the house or pace in place.
- Take a short 10-minute walk during your lunch hour. If you can’t go outside, run small errands or just walk along the corridors. Take the stairs whenever you can.
- Walk to a nearby store to shop for items. Before I got my pedometer, I used to be annoyed when I forgot to buy things. Now I just view that as a chance to get some extra steps.
- Dance! Put on your headphones, listen to your favourite music and dance. Salsa, samba or any fast music is great for this purpose. It’s no accident Zumba is so popular.
- Walk while you talk on the phone. The more you talk, the more you walk.
- Do jumping jacks, do some shadow boxing or jump rope. This is good last resort way of adding steps if you’re short of your daily step goal.
- Take the long route. If you are in a habit of taking the shortest route wherever you go, find a longer one. These days I often take a long circuitous way to my grocery store. Much of my daily step count is fulfilled that way.
- Read and walk. I must confess I’m not very good at reading and walking at a same time, but you might be!
- Take advantage of your family members. Play tag, basketball or dancing games with your children. An added bonus is improved relationships with your children.
Pedometer walking is great precisely because you always get immediate feedback on your increased physical activity. It keeps you motivated in making those small improvements in your life.