Step it Up

Simple ways to boost your step count.
Published October 5, 2022

Steps, steps, steps – we’re all trying to get more steps each day. But that can be difficult if you work a desk job or commute by car, and it gets even more difficult in winter when icy sidewalks make walking less than appealing.

But there are lots of ways to work around these hindrances, you just have to get creative.

Walk and talk

“There are many creative ways to get more steps, even if you can't go on a traditional ‘walk’ outside,” says Allison Sizemore, a certified sports nutritionist and online fitness coach. “One of my favourite ways to get in more steps is to pace when I'm on a phone call. You can walk around your office while on the phone and easily get in a few thousand steps over the course of 30 minutes.”

Walk and tidy

“Another way I like to get in steps (and also feel productive) is to walk all around my house picking up things (like my kids’ toys!) and putting them away,” Sizemore adds. “When I do this, I try not to care about doing it the most efficient way so that I can get even more steps than necessary.”

Do it on the hour

Julius Cermak, a naturopathic herbalist, health coach and founder of, suggests using your phone to set an alarm every hour for a three-minute walk. You can do this by walking around the room, right in place or through your office building.

Say no to elevators

If you’re a few flights up, says Cermak, just take the stairs.

Pick far-off bathrooms and fountains

“Find a bathroom or water fountain that's farther away than the ones closer to you. This way when you must get up from your chair, you're getting a few more steps,” says Cermak.

Try a treadmill desk

If a treadmill desk is accessible to you, Sizemore suggests giving it a try as it’s an easy way to get your steps in during the workday.

Make the most of your errands

“If running errands is a key part of your weekly routine, you can add hundreds or even thousands of steps to your daily total by parking farther from your destinations,” says Caroline Grainger, ISSA-certified personal trainer at FitnessTrainer Online Personal Trainers. “Park in the back row of a big box store, or a block or two away from a small shop. You'll still be able to get where you're going even if you have some big items to pick up, and those extra few minutes of walking here and there will quickly add up.”

Pace it

“Walk around the room when waiting for meetings to start,” suggests Cermak. “You'll probably get a few of your team members to join in when they pick up what you're doing.”

He also suggests walking in place while you’re waiting for a file to load or a call to go through. You can even become walking buddies with a co-worker and get in a few laps of the building together if you arrive at work a bit early.

Chat instead of email

“Walk to your team member's or manager's office instead of sending an email. It's good social time, too,” suggests Cermak.

Buy ice cleats

Our Canadian winters are no joke and ice is an often intimidating part of them. For many of us, icy sidewalks and nature paths might be a deterrent to going on winter walks, but there is a solution: Ice cleats. Also known as crampons, these light metal contraptions can be attached to your favourite pair of comfy boots, can be purchased online and are relatively inexpensive. They can open up a whole new world of winter walks and help ease the very real fear of slipping on the ice.