10,000 Steps a Day: How to Do It

By Dr. Ingo Froböse
Updated on 11. Dec. 2020

Staying fit and active throughout the day is crucial to living a healthy life. Below, fitness expert Dr. Ingo Froböse provides ten tips to help reach the recommended 10,000 steps a day, as well as advice to stay motivated while doing so.

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Table of contents

  1. The Health Effects of Too Little Exercise 
  2. 10 Tips to Get More Steps In
  3. Start With 3,000 Extra Steps
  4. More Ways to Motivate Yourself
    1. Keep a Diary
    2. Wear a Fitness Tracker
  5. Knowledge To Go

Who hasn't experienced the following: after a long day at work, the couch seems to be calling your name. That’s why it’s so important to integrate exercise throughout our daily routine. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends walking 10,000 steps every day to help support overall health. And while this might sound like a lot, you can easily hit this goal by implementing small changes in everyday life.

The Health Effects of Too Little Exercise 

Lack of exercise can have far-reaching consequences. Our bones, muscles, tendons and joints all need regular training to function properly. What’s more, not getting enough exercise can lead to a host of health problems, including obesity, muscle atrophy, metabolic disorders, and a decrease in cardiovascular performance, just to name a few.

10 Tips to Get More Steps In

Getting to 10,000 steps a day doesn't have to be difficult. With a few daily changes, you can easily start stacking up the steps.

1. Vary your commute. If you can, start walking or riding your bicycle to work. This is also a great way to be more active at work, as you’ll get a burst of oxygen in the brain. 

2. Make the most of your lunch break. On your next lunch hour, go for a walk! Walk briskly through the streets to get your body moving and especially to loosen up your shoulder and neck areas after sitting for so long.

3. Skip the elevator. Skip the elevator and take advantage of the stairwell to get in some vital steps. These small distances will add up and help you reach the 10,000 steps a day mark in no time. Walking up steps will also benefit your back and joints.

4. Make phone calls while standing. Whether at home or at work, try standing while you make your phone calls. If you can, pace slowly around the room to get even more steps in. These can all add up-- studies show that on average we talk for a half hour on the phone every day. 

5. Make a walk date. Meeting friends for coffee and then talking for hours - who doesn't enjoy that? However, it would be healthier and more active if you do your chatting while taking a walk. You can still have coffee afterwards!

6. Get off one stop earlier. Even if you rely on public transportation, there are ways to be more active. Get off one stop early and walk the rest of the way. And if you're traveling by car, just park a little farther away from your destination.

7. Skip the work emails. Most of the time in the office, we write colleagues a quick e-mail or make a quick call when there's something to discuss. The next time you have a chance, just go to their office - it's not only more personal, but also healthier!

8. Have walking meetings. If you don't need a laptop or other tools for a specific meeting at work, take the opportunity to have a walking meeting instead. With exercise and fresh air, you'll also probably be more productive.

9. Get in steps as you tidy. Vacuuming and cleaning is anything but fun for most of us. But you might find it a little easier if you know that you're logging steps and burning calories in the process - about 120 calories per half hour on average. So cleaning doesn’t only benefit the home, but your health as well. 

10. Place your printer out of reach. If you have a printer at home, try placing it at the opposite corner of the room, instead of next to your computer. That way, you'll have to get up every time you print something, and you’ll inevitably get more steps in.

Start With 3,000 Extra Steps

A good way to start integrating more exercise into your daily life is to start off by walking 3,000 steps more than usual every day. A recent study indicated that even this small increase can have a markable effect on cholesterol levels, and increase endurance levels by more than 30 percent. 

1,000 steps is roughly equivalent to walking for ten minutes. This means you need to be active for at least 30 minutes a day to walk 3,000 additional steps.

More Ways to Motivate Yourself

Keep a Diary

Keeping a record of your activities is a great way to stay motivated and also commit yourself to your goals.Exercise diaries are incredibly practical. Simply jot down the number of steps you take each day and which activities you took part in. 

Wear a Fitness Tracker

A pedometer or fitness tracker is a great way to stay motivated and keep track of your progress. There are tons of different models on the market, - from simple and practical to highly complex and technically sophisticated trackers. No matter which model you choose: in the end, the only important thing is that you actually use the pedometer. 

Knowledge To Go

To help keep your body fit and healthy and help ward off an array of diseases, you should aim for at least 10,000 steps a day. Whether it's walking or biking to work, taking a walk during your lunch break, or using the stairs instead of the escalator, small changes in your daily routine can quickly add up to make you much more healthy.  

If you can't manage 10,000 steps a day straight away, you can also start smaller and try 3,000 extra steps. Even this daily increase in exercise can have a significant positive effect on your health. A pedometer and an exercise diary can provide additional motivation and control.

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