Are you always on the go? Or maybe feel like you just don’t have enough time in the day to fit in a walk? You are not alone! It constantly seems like our days fill up with an abundance of meetings, extracurriculars, and commitments to friends and family before we have a chance to add a little time for ourselves to be active. Though our days may fill up fast, there are ways that we can get more out of our daily routine!
Today, experts at the CDC recommend adults get in at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity. These statistics may seem overwhelming to achieve on a busy schedule, but what if we told you that it was possible to sneak in time throughout your day? What if we also told you increasing your activity from couch potato to walking 10 minutes a day, could help you sleep better and be more productive at work? Follow along with us as we break down 11 easy tips and tricks to help you increase your steps and improve your overall health!
Tip 1: Speed Walk
One of the easiest ways for you to make steps towards a healthier lifestyle throughout your day is to take your intensity level up a notch, from leisure to brisk. Whether you are just taking the long way into the store from the parking lot, or you’re running around the block for lunch, you can easily get your heart rate up (without breaking a sweat) by making it a speed walk. For a quick tip to give your steps a bigger impact is to take the intensity level up a notch. Whether you’re walking into a store from the parking lot, or talking a stroll around the block at lunch time, you can easily get your heart rate up without breaking a sweat. Turning a leisure walk into a brisk speed walk, you can get more out of the steps you’re already taking.
Tip 2: Drink More Water
Do you have the 8x8 rule ingrained in your head for your daily water intake? Eight glasses of eight ounces of water is a good basic practice for staying hydrated. And though that number may different from person to person, it’s safe to say drinking water is still an important part of managing your health. Another plus is that you can rely on the bonus steps you'll rack up with the added trips to the restroom!
Tip 3: Take the Long Way
When it comes to sneakily getting in those extra steps during the day, try taking the longer route whenever possible. If that means parking farther away from the entrance to work, taking the stairs rather than the elevator, or doing a lap of the grocery store or mall before you get down to shopping, every extra bit helps!
Tip 4: Play Outside
This tip may make adults chuckle, but it can really make a difference! When you make plans with family or friends, try swapping happy hour for a few hours outside. Consider Frisbee in the local park, basketball at a nearby school court, or even taking a casual stroll around the block. Time spent outside with loved ones has added health benefits for everyone, and think of how many extra steps you can log
Tip 5: Walking Meetings
This tip depends on your career, work environment, location, etc., but if it make sense, try it! It never hurts to try to break out of your traditional workplace setting for a little activity. When your next meeting rolls around, propose a walking meeting to your colleagues to mix up the scenery. Give your coworkers the chance to get out of their seats, get some fresh air and a quick dose of activity.
Tip 6: Mix up Your Weekend Routine
Things pile up through the week. Even when it feels like the weekend isn’t long enough to get everything done, you can still get your steps in! Change it up – wash your car at home this weekend. Do a lap of the house while you’re on hold with customer service. Stagger your upstairs and downstairs chores, forcing you to go up and down each time you switch to a new task. Don’t just sit and watch your kid’s soccer game, walk around the field. Get out of the car and into the bank, rather than using the drive thru. You don’t have to spend extra time to get in your steps, you just have to get your heart rate up with accomplishing your to-do List!
Tip 7: Walk The Dog That Extra Block
Have a furry family member? If so, you’re in luck! For some easy ways to get more activity in your day, go an extra block farther today, or spread out your walks through the day. You and Fido will both reap the benefits of a little extra stroll.
Tip 8: Utilize Your Technology
It’s happened to all of us – we can get so preoccupied in our work that we forget to drink water, use the restroom, or just take a break. But the technology that draws us in can be a great ally in to our health. Set an alarm on your phone, computer, smart watch, etc., reminding you to take a break and take a walk. Your body will thank you!
Tip 9: Make Plans with Friends
One of the easiest ways to maintain activity-based goals is to do them with a buddy. Set aside time each week to catch up with a friend while walking around a park, or a local beach. Stay accountable to one another by signing up for a yoga class or joining a sports league. Whatever activity appeals to the both of you, it’s easier to stay committed with a friend in tow.
Tip 10: Utilize Your Lunch Hour
Whether you eat with co-workers in the cafeteria or work through lunch at your desk, your lunch hour is a great opportunity to increase your daily activity. Walk to the deli when you go out to grab lunch, or spend the second part of the hour on a walk around the building. When the seasons change, you can still get in your lunch walk by heading to a mall or indoor track nearby. No matter where you go, taking a break is good for both your body, and your brain.
Check Out Our Walking Resources
Tip 11: Take Advantage of ‘TV Time’
We all enjoy a good Netflix binge (or three) every now and again. For those of us committed to tuning in each week, you can incorporate a little activity each time you watch. Try a combination of lunges, calf raises, crunches, etc. If you have a gym membership, see if you can catch your favorite reality show on the big screens there. If not, take your smart phone with you to help pass the time while getting in your cardio. In the end, a little bit goes a long way!
Looking for Other Ways to Get Active?
The Long Island Health Collaborative can help. You can check out walking opportunities right here on Long Island on our Resources pages, or visit our Events Calendar to see what’s going on near you today. And whenever you get active, remember to log your steps, minutes, or miles on the Are You Ready, Feet?™ dashboard for your chance to win prizes!