Yes, I have gotten out of bed to walk to the kitchen for a drink of water simply to hit my 10,000 step goal for the day (the drink of water is totally optional).
Sometimes I hit my 10,000 steps before I arrive in the kitchen so then, I can decide if I should just turn around and go back to bed knowing I walked a healthy 4+ miles that day. More than once, I have gone to bed with less than 100 steps to reach 10,000, close – but no gold star!
Read more here to find fun and effective ways to add more walking to your daily routine and get fit at the same time!
Now I make a point of checking my fitness tracker a few hours before bedtime to see how close I am to my goal. If I’m within 1500 steps it sometimes leads me to some odd late night exercise routines:
In the nice weather, I have gone outside at night to “walk the grounds” or walk a few laps around the patio to hit my 10,000 steps.
I will make an extra trip to the store after dinner to pick up essentials which could wait until tomorrow but instead will help me get my steps for today.
If it is not too dark or too cold a quick walk around the block earns quite a few steps without taking too long.
In colder weather, we often take a walk at the mall (no shopping intended) to do a lap or two. All the massive super stores work well for this too, a walk around the perimeter and up and down the aisles can add an impressive amount of steps.
I may decide it’s a great time to organize and clean the basement which means lots of walking back and forth and up and down the stairs. The added bonus of course, is a cleaner house!
I have even worn my fitbit when I go Stand-up paddle boarding. It seems like such a waste to get no step credit for such a great core workout! I plan on making a more scientific study this summer on how many steps I can actually earn for an hour of paddling.
I have gone out of my way, many a night, before midnight arrives to hit my 10,000 steps.
All this focus on 10,000 steps may sound a bit obsessive but I’ve been wearing a tracker for years. Over time, I have learned how to add more physical activity into my day without even thinking about it; these are now all daily habits that are part of my regular routine. I love getting that rewarding buzz from my fitbit at 10,000 steps, it often “makes my day”, at least as far as fitness is concerned. Below are some of the changes that add some steps and often help boost my metabolism for the day.
To achieve my fitness goals, I have been finding lots of creative methods to hit my step targets for each day and for my weekly average:
- Extra tidying up in the house with trips up and down the stairs before I leave for work. In just a few minutes of speed cleaning, I can have over 1200 steps before leaving for work. If I really put my mind to it, I have 2000+ steps before my workday begins. This speed cleaning adds both steps and floors climbed to help earn new badges! Fitbit provides lots of positive reinforcement with alerts, reminders and badges.
- Putting mail out in the mailbox, bringing in the garbage pail or taking out recycling instead of asking the kids to do it add more steps to my day.
- Making extra trips down the hall at work to talk to a co-worker instead of emailing or calling works well. It not only adds steps, it gets you out of your chair and away from a computer screen briefly.
- I have started going out to my car (which I parked far away) at lunch time to make phone calls and get some fresh air at the same time.
- Stopping on the way home to do some extra errands and fitting in as much walking as is reasonable on a week night helps get me closer to my goal.
- At home, I have my Mac desktop background setting on a very cool mode that changes the picture every hour. If I haven’t gotten up out of the chair for a while, I take a little walk to stretch when the screen changes.
- When I’m tidying the house I usually make a pile of items to go upstairs and another pile to be brought to the basement. If I am in an increase my steps mood, I forget the pile and bring each items upstairs or down as needed. This adds plenty of steps and flights of stairs as well.
- At work, if I know I have been sitting for close to an hour, I get up and move. I purposely take a brisk walk down the hall to do an errand or check in with a colleague.
- My cell phone reception inside my house is not always good so I often go outside while talking. Rather than sit, I often walk laps around the patio, even in the dark to help hit my step goal for the day. I do need to pay attention so that I don’t fall in the pool.
- I park far away from all the stores, so far in fact that, my kids are groaning a bit! My kids, are now on to me: you are just trying to get more steps, aren’t you Mom??
- I will go upstairs to use the bathroom at home to get more steps and flights of stairs logged on my tracker!
- When I am on the phone at home, I often pace the floor or clean the house as I talk- this adds steps, it counts as socializing and my house getting cleaner is an added bonus.
- I stopped asking my kids to run up or down to go get something for me. Never mind I’ll get more steps so Ill do it!! My kids don’t complain about this at all.
As I am writing this post, I am less than 100 steps away from my daily goal of 10,000 steps. So excuse me briefly, while I walk briskly to the basement to put a load of laundry in the dryer! (Yeah-it worked!!) This is particularly good for today because prior to 4:30pm I just barely walked 3200 steps which is certainly not going to help me maintain a nice weekly step average!
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Plenty of fitness articles have great suggestions for adding steps like parking a block away from work and walking the remainder of the way. Walking to lunch instead of driving or using the furthest bathroom from your office will also add some steps. I realize that by changing my habits in little ways during the day, I’m able to hit my walking goals even on the days when I don’t have time to go out for a real walk.
I have been wearing my fitbit for several years and have been learning my habits and slowest times of the day. By breaking your day into parts and adding more walking activities during your less active times, it can be easier to meet your steps goals.
Besides walking, I also try to work out briefly each morning. See my Benefits to Morning Exercise post for ideas to start your day with some a workout and boost your metabolism.
And yes, I have bad days and even bad weeks where not one of my days is even close to 7,000!
I make a point to not punish myself for not hitting my goals but instead, to be more aware of my activity levels, or total lack of. I know when it is a busy week at work or a hectic week with my family and I’m not always able to control my schedule and fit in some walking. I don’t like feeling like I’m locked into something, like I must do it. My exercise is up to me, and I have my great days along with the pathetic days.
Christmas Day ranks with my all time lows, I was a complete slug – barely breaking 3000 steps after hosting my family the night before. Most of my steps for that day weren’t even from the day. I had a few thousand steps from the wee hours when we were putting the presents under the tree. Since we keep running out of hiding spots in the house, I locked most of the gifts in the shed outside. This required multiple trips back and forth. Fortunately, it was a very warm night on Long Island and we had lots of moonlight to help us out.
If you haven’t started using a tracker, its not a bad idea to get one. If you are reading this post you are either thinking about it or have one and want to learn more. In this post I haven’t really touched on setting goals, active minutes, adding friends or how to get started with your fitness tracker so Ill be putting together another post in the next few weeks. My reasons for choosing my tracker were first size (nothing too big), cost (medium) and if I am going to wear something all day it should have a watch. Many of my friends have also chosen fitbit or received them as gifts. Other friends are very happy using trackers by Jawbone, Garmin or Misfit. Whichever fitness tracker you choose it should fit your style and wallet. Try a tracker and start moving more!
For more specific information and pricing for Fitness Trackers, see this informative
article from Wearable: Best Fitness Trackers of 2016
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How do you add more activity and steps in your day?