Do you regularly meet the CDC recommended amount of weekly activity
? How often does your FitBit do its step-goal-happy-dance? We know how hard it can be during a busy day to prioritize your exercise. But we’re invested in getting you moving, so we’ve put together a list of 9 ways to add some pep to your daily steps that you might not have thought of yet.
Make sure you've read
11 Easy Tips to Help Increase Your Daily Activity for even more great ideas.
1. Buy (or rent) a bike.
It’s the natural first step. If walking really doesn’t excite you, buying a solid bicycle second hand is a strategy for getting safe wheels at a less stressful price. If you’re riding with your kids, be extra cautious about the safety requirements met by both the bike and the helmet – and they should always be wearing a helmet. If you’re trying to get more active minutes in your day, you can try taking up riding a bicycle. You’ll need to have one to start!
2. Scope out your local park.
How are you supposed to spend time walking if you don’t know where to go? Whether you map a route using Google Maps, or check your area’s Walk Score, knowledge is power. Having a plan can turn the idea of a walking routine into a routine reality.
Don’t know where to go? on Long Island, certain places have recently become bike- and pedestrian-friendly, under a policy called Complete Streets. According to Governor Andrew Cuomo's website budgets allotted for these kinds of improvements and innovations.
- Nassau County: Long Island Motor Parkway Multi-Use Trail – Salisbury Park Drive Segment: $1,820,000
- City of Long Beach: Downtown to the Boardwalk Resilient Connectivity: $1,063,851
- NYS Parks: Jones Beach State Park: $2,500,000
- Town of Brookhaven: North Country Road Complete Streets Project: $750,800
- Village of Island Park: School Safety Zone Improvements: $382,520
- Suffolk County: Pedestrians and Bicyclists Along the Nicolls Road Bus Rapid Transit Corridor: $1,452,000
3. Seriously think about taking the bus.
WAIT, don’t skip this suggestion.
We know the reality is that public transportation can be limited on Long Island – but take a few minute to see if it works for you. Can you think of a way to take any trip you’ve got planned in the next few weeks, by using the Nassau Inter-county Express (NICE) or the Suffolk County Transportation buses? Is it maybe a little possible? Why not challenge yourself. Take a day, give it a try. You never know how many steps you could add to your day, and the innumerable benefits to the local environment.
4. Attend a street fair or festival.
With the warmer weather just around the corner, you’ll soon have your choice of craft fairs, street festivals, and town celebrations. What a great way to spend a day, enjoying some local flavor and moving the whole time. Discover Long Island has a long, searchable list of street fairs and festivals you can check regularly for updates and new events.
5. Announce your walking goal to your workplace – as you power walk by them!
Whether you work in a traditional office, or a more industrial location, indoors or out, with coworkers or clients, you might feel a little silly if you’re spotted taking laps while trying to get your steps in. But it might feel less silly if you were all in on the joke. According to an article from Fast Company, “Research has shown that sharing your goals not only makes you more accountable, but it fills a need for social connection.” Schedule some time during the day, preferably a few times to keep your blood circulating, and map a route around your workplace. Prepare everyone who may see you pacing to look out for your road show. Let them know how crazy you’re going to look, and that you’re doing it for your health. See? Now everyone’s laughing with you. And hey, they might even join you!
6. Look out for wayfinding signs.
Sustainable Long Island calls wayfinding, “an art-like strategy,” that bridges neighborhoods and healthy lifestyles.
“It’s a series of signage, banners, directions, and other visual information systems that guide people through a particular physical environment or community.”
You can find targeted signs, like this one, in places where Sustainable Long Island has done work to highlight safe walking opportunities. This sign is in Wyandanch, at the corner of Grand Boulevard and Doe Street, but keep your eyes peeled for other indications of nearby destinations. Signs pointing to your nearby train station, local library, or other destinations in your own can help you see how walkable your community is, and how you might get add some regular steps to your day by walking to them.
7. Work walking into lunch.
You don’t have to think very hard about this one. Going out for lunch? If you can’t reasonably walk to your destination, make an effort to park further away than makes sense. With the added benefit that you won’t have to fight for a parking spot, and there will be less of a chance someone will scrape your vehicle with theirs.
8. Find a Meetup.
Have you ever heard of Meetup.com? People can use Meetup to find others with similar interests, and connect both online and in real life. On Long Island, there are a bunch of walking and running groups. They meet in different locations and are for all different skill levels. You can get in some physical activity and social activity – good for the body and the mind!
9. Petition your local government.
This may not directly increase the number of steps you add to your pedometer today or tomorrow. But it might really effect the next generation of citizens. Does that include your children? People are making decisions about the future of your town. Your opinion matters.
In a report by the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development and Planning, titled Framework for the Future–Suffolk County Comprehensive Master Plan 2035, Suffolk County Executive Steven Ballone writes, “Interconnecting the networks of hiking and biking trails stretching across Suffolk provides an alternate means of connecting our downtowns, utilizing our 50,000 acres of parkland and open spaces.”
Okay, so how? Here are a few resources to lend a hand.
Facebook Townhall Feature
This BRAND NEW feature from Facebook helps you find your local representatives right on the social network, and makes it easy to contact them through Facebook messenger. Visit facebook.com/townhall on your computer, or open your FB app and navigate to your apps, open the “Town Hall” app, and type in your address to get started.
Complete Streets Advocate Toolkit
The American Heart Association has got everything you need to present your case on why Complete Streets policies are impactful and necessary. Graphics, flyers, social media pieces, and more!
We won’t ever stop promoting the health benefits of moving more. Help us promote the health benefits of moving more by logging your miles, minutes, and steps today! Are You Ready, Feet?™ Visit the physical activity portal for your chance to win prizes.
This post written together with LIHC partner,
Sustainable Long Island