The goal of walking 10,000 steps might have its origins in a 1960s Japanese pedometer called manpo-kei, or ‘10,000 steps meter’, but today it’s become a health craze thanks to more modern devices such as the FitBit and other fitness trackers.
And while it may seem like just a trendy fad for fitness enthusiasts, researchers agree that if you increase your daily step count by simply walking more, you can experience many health benefits including a healthy waistline, more stable blood sugar levels and better cardiovascular health.
Even if you’re not quite as obsessed about reaching the magic 10,000 number, try these tips to increase your step count and tap into the power of walking.
Tip 1: Walk everywhere
According to the latest Department of Health survey results
, Australian adults average about 7,400 steps per day.
Less than one in five Australians reach 10,000 steps per day – the number considered indicative of an active lifestyle.
“We tend to make excuses for why we can’t find time to exercise,” says personal trainer Lizzy Williamson, author of Two Minute Moves .
Her advice? Simply make walking part of your day.
“Leave the car behind and walk to work and the shops, hold walking social catch-ups, and walk the kids to school,” she says, “It’s about changing your mindset from one of convenience to one where we see the benefits in walking.”
Tip 2: Alight from public transport sooner
Get off the bus or train one stop before your destination and walk the rest of your journey advises Dr Benjamin Ewald, senior lecturer at the School of Medicine and Public Health at Newcastle University .
“Every public transport journey has a walking journey at the end of it, so just by catching public transport you’ll increase your step count,” Ewald explains.
Tip 3: Make use of the micro moments
Walking on the spot while brushing your teeth and pacing back and forth while on the phone may sound like odd things to do, but by taking advantage of these moments in your day you can clock up a hefty step count, says Williamson.
“You don’t need to go on a 40-minute walk to reach 10,000 steps – these small things can be quite significant if you do them regularly,” she says.
Tip 4: Be active in the office
Working in an office doesn’t mean you have to be sedentary, says Williamson.
Among Williamson’s gems of advice for office workers is to conduct walking meetings and print from the furthest printer away from your desk.
If in an office building with stairs, take the stairs at least once a day, and rather than sending an email, get up and go and talk to the person face to face. “You’ll develop better relationships with your colleagues that way too,” says Williamson.
Tip 5: Get a walking buddy
Finding a fellow step count enthusiast to walk with every day is a powerful motivator to get you moving. “We are much less likely to want to let down a friend than ourselves, especially if that person is waiting outside on a cold, dark morning for us to come out and walk with them,” says Williamson.
Your final tally
Don’t despair if you haven’t quite reached 10,000 steps in a day, because any increase in your daily step count is going to be of benefit to your health, says Ewald. “The important thing is that you’re raising your step count and that you’re doing it every day,” he says.
Start moving for a healthier you
If you’re serious about getting moving for better health, but are finding it hard to get motivated, our Action plan is a great place to start.