By Emily Countryman
Did you know that it is recommended to take 10,000 steps per day? Have you started tracking your steps with an activity tracker? You might be surprised how few steps you actually get in each day. If you have a sedentary job and lifestyle, getting anywhere near 10,000 steps can be a challenge. With a few small changes, you can increase your steps in no time.
Staying active increases healthy aging up to seven times. Those who walk 5,000-10,000 steps per day have shown a reduction of up to 40 percent in metabolic syndrome. It is a critical part of healthy living, but the good news is you don’t need to compete in a marathon to get the health benefits of activity.
If you don’t know how many steps you take try tracking them for a week. There are many affordable wristbands to track steps, phone apps or even an old-
Staying active at the office
Take the stairs: If you work in a high rise try starting with a flight or two each day and taking the elevator for the rest. Work your way up to the whole height.
Ditch interoffice email: Need to tell your colleague something? Take a walk to their office and let them know in person. Get a buddy: Grab a co-worker and take a walk around the block at your lunch or break. That could add up to 2,000 steps in a 15-minute walking break.
Staying active with the kids
Make it fun: Find an activity that doesn’t seem like a workout. Paddleboarding, kayaking, or a small hike are so fun you won’t realize you’ve added up to 5,000 steps or more in an hour.
Make it an adventure: Try geocaching. It’s like going on a hike and a treasure hunt all in one. A quick web search will turn up many caches, often close by. Grab your smartphone or GPS device and get hunting, the kids will love it.
Do it for a cause: Sign up for a family friendly 5K. Most are hosted by a nonprofit or the proceeds go to charity. Even if your kiddos are little, they can ride in a stroller or take breaks. This is a fun way to help out a great cause and get more than half of your steps in for the day.
Staying active at home
Rainy day ideas: Try a mini elliptical in your bedroom. These are about the size of two shoe boxes and easily stored under a bed. Watch TV or call an old friend and the steps will fly by.
There’s an app for that: You can set alerts when you need to get more steps in and also set timers for a 10-minute step session.
Clean it up: While it’s not the most fun, you are getting a two for one; a clean house and more steps. Set a timer for 30 minutes and sweep, mop or
vacuum. Even dusting off shelves, frames and knickknacks could gain you 1,000 steps.
Whatever your activity choice, challenge yourself to reach 10,000 steps per day. If you are already hitting that goal, aim to do a thousand more each day, your health will thank you for it.
Emily Countryman is a board-certified health coach and owner of Ideal Wellness in Smokey Point/Marysville. email@example.com