Fitness & workouts

8 ways to get 10,000 steps

How to make your step goals a reality.

In an age of digital fitness trackers, one number has emerged as the gold standard: 10,000. Upping your step count - whether you increase your daily total to 5,000 or that coveted 10,000 - is one step towards being that much healthier.

But walking around can also be downright boring. That’s why we consulted trainers to ask them: what are some fun, new ways to take more steps? Check out their top techniques below.

1. Start small

“Wear your step counting device for a day or two and don’t do anything special - just see where you’re starting from,” suggests Janet Hamilton, C.S.C.S. a running coach at Running Strong, and a registered clinical exercise psychologist. Do you typically hit 2,000 steps per day? It might be best to aim for 3,000 steps per day, rather than going for your goal of 10,000 straightaway. "True progress involves starting where you are and building to where you want to be," Hamilton says.

2. Walk together

On a mission to move more? “Bringing a friend along with you on the journey is a great way to increase motivation and enjoyment,” says Matt Delaney, C.S.C.S., a New York-based trainer. “Having someone to talk to and share the experience with will make it more about the process and less about the number, which is an important part of creating lasting change.”

3. Hit the stairs

If you have a two-storey house (or an apartment that’s on a second storey or higher), you have a built-in Stairmaster, says Hamilton. “Set a timer and when it dings, do several trips up and down the stairs!”

4. Beware of the easy way out

Always pass on the path of least resistance, suggests Delaney. That means, when possible, taking the stairs instead of the escalator, deliberately parking your car at the far end of the car park, and walking to the coffee shop instead of driving. “We need to be more conscious of the ways we avoid activity in our daily lives, so we can recognise them and choose healthier options,” says Hamilton.

5. Take a walking lunch

Lunch breaks are a solid chunk of time that many of us spend on our bums. But instead of sitting and eating for your whole break, why not try to take half of the time for a walk? Even 10 or 15 minutes of movement could log you 1,000 steps!

6. Swap Zoom meetings for walk and talks

Can't bear the thought of another Zoom meeting? Why not go for a walking meeting instead? Where possible, put in your headphones, call your colleague, slip your phone in your pocket and head out for a walk. Do it enough and you’ll be surprised how many steps you add in every day. Plus, couldn’t we all benefit from less screen time?

7. Set a movement timer

If you spend all day at a desk, hitting movement goals can be difficult. That’s why Hamilton suggests setting a timer to remind you to get up every 45 minutes or so, even if it's just to walk to the bathroom. "Your back will thank you," she says.

8. Dance it out

Who said steps only counted if you walk or run? Try Hamilton’s go-to: “Put on some tunes and dance while you fix dinner!”