As you make your list of things to buy for your new fitness goals, add a pedometer to that list so you can track the number of steps you walk each day. Increasing your steps is an easy way to burn calories and improve your health. An eventual goal of 10,000 steps per day is an excellent target to focus on, even if that seems insurmountable at the moment. You can build up to it gradually.
Pedometers are available at sports stores in many styles. A very basic mechanical pedometer simply counts your steps, while digital models have a variety of features. Some digital pedometers can be calibrated for the length of your stride so you can accurately determine how many miles you're walking. Ten thousand steps typically is about five miles.
Remember that you're taking steps throughout the day; each one counts toward your goal.
Attach your pedometer to your belt, waistband or a pocket on your pants before you begin your normal daily routine. At the end of the day, you'll see how many steps you typically take in an average day. This will include actions such as walking:
- to and from your car
- to the mailbox and back
- around the grocery store and other stores
- around your place of work or school
- through the house as you do your regular activities
If your lifestyle has been sedentary, you might be starting with 2,000 to 3,000 steps per day. Fitness experts consider any number below 5,000 steps per day as sedentary.
Add a certain number of steps per day and increase the number on a daily or weekly basis. You might start with an extra 500 or 1,000 steps as a walk before or after work, for example, or as a walk during your lunch break.
You also can sneak in extra steps throughout the day. You might:
- take the stairs instead of the elevator
- park your car further from entrances
- get up from your desk and take a short walk in the building every hour or two
- get up from the couch during commercials and walk around the room
Reaching Your Goal
Within a month or two, you'll be at your goal of 10,000 steps per day. You'll have reached that goal by incorporating various strategies, including taking walks and simply being more active throughout the day. Taking 10,000 steps now comes easily and naturally to you, and you wonder how you ever thought it would be difficult. You can definitely consider yourself an active person!