Between the activity tracking wristlets available (think Fitbit) and mobile phones with built-in pedometer apps, nearly everyone can easily track the steps they take every day. Reaching the recommended daily number of 10,000 steps per day (about 5 miles) can be a challenge, however, especially if you work in an office.
Still, regular, daily activity - nearly any activity - is beneficial. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released new guidelines in November that emphasize the importance of movement, even if only for a few minutes at a time. According to the new guidelines, adults should have at least 150 to 300 minutes a week of moderate-level physical activity, about 20 to 30 minutes a day. For older adults, part of that time should be devoted to strength-building activities.
Studies continue to show that not only does activity help the body with balance and flexibility, but the brain benefits as well. Activity doesn't have to be "planned" or sustained either. Taking a short walk around the office or after work can make a difference in how you feel mentally and physically.
Make 2019 the year you increase your daily activity. Tracking steps is a simple way to do that. Learn to check your app or device regularly. Start slowly if you need to, aiming for 2,500, 5,000 or 7,500 steps a day, until you reach your daily goal.
Here are some great ideas for increasing your steps and activity:
- Park farther away from the office entrance or store.
- Take the stairs; walk the escalator instead of standing still.
- Start your shopping trip at the grocery or big-box store by first taking a lap around the perimeter of the store.
- Take a brief walk with the dog before work.
- Walk outside for 15 minutes during your lunch break.
- Set your phone alarm to take regular walk breaks at work.
- Walk to your coworker's office instead of sending an email.
- Plan physical activities for the family, such as taking nature walks or playing miniature golf.
- Vacuum the house already!
- Walk to nearby stores or restaurants instead of driving.