Walking is great exercise, it’s gets you out doors to (hopefully) fresh air, it strengthens your legs and calves, it keeps your hip, knee and ankle joints well lubricated, it improves circulation, it builds stamina, improves your mood by reducing stress, you can meet new people, and it BURNS CALORIES – that’s the important part. Since you’re burning calories, you’re losing weight, you’re increasing the strength of your heart muscle and you’re getting healthier and healthier.

Using a pedometer can really be a benefit to getting exercise through walking. Studies have shown that we walk an average of 5000 to 5500 steps per day, and that 10,000 steps per day is where you see the most benefit. 10,000 steps is equal to about 5 miles for the average stride. Just having the pedometer hooked to your belt loop will be the reminder to keep moving, or to take the stairs, or to go out and walk during your lunch break at work.

I advise my clients to keep a log of the information their pedometer gives them at the end of each day. It includes the date, number of steps, miles, calories burned and a space for any notes for that day. The notes area can be helpful to track why there was a significant difference, either fewer or more steps on a given day.

Here are some ways to add steps to your day – remember your goal is 10,000:

  • Park in the far back of the parking lot at work, or at store lots
  • If you take a bus, get off the bus a few stops before your usual stop and walk the rest of the way
  • Take the stairs
  • Pace while waiting for meetings to start or while making phone calls
  • Get up and walk around during commercial breaks
  • Do not use drive throughs, park and walk in – better yet stay away from places that have drive throughs the food is no good for you
  • Dedicate a few minutes to walking each hour
  • Walk during your lunch break
  • Form a workplace, neighborhood or friends walking group
  • Make a family habit of walking in the morning or after dinner (or both)
  • Take advantage of 5k charity walks so you have company while walking
  • Take an extra trip up and down your stairs, just for fun
  • Bring your groceries into the house one bag at a time
  • Take the dog for a walk, they’ll love you for it. Take your neighbors dog for a walk if you don’t have one!
  • Pace while waiting for a meal to heat in the microwave
  • Use the lavatory at work that is furthest from your desk

Go ahead, add more bullet points, there are plenty of ways to add walking to your daily life!