Six tips for getting your daily steps in
St. Joseph’s/Candler exercise physiologist explains the benefits of walking
You may have heard you should get 10,000 steps in a day. For some, that’s easy. For others, that’s a lot.
“If you are the type of person who has an active job and you walk around, I feel like that number is achievable,” says Briana Baisden, exercise physiologist with the St. Joseph’s/Candler Wellness Center. “But if you are somebody who sits at a desk all day, you’re probably going to get fewer steps than that, realistically.”
While it’s good to have a numerical goal, as Baisden says, be realistic about it. The key is being active when you can.
Regular physical activity, such as walking, is one of the most important things we can do to improve and maintain our health. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity each week. That’s about 25 minutes a day, and if you are counting your steps, that can add up quickly.
“Walking can contribute to your mental health, your physical appearance and overall how you feel,” Baisden says. “It gets the body moving, the blood flowing and the mind working. It also helps with your posture, is a good way to lose weight and keeps our hearts healthy.”
Baisden recommends each week setting a goal of how many steps you want to get in that week. It doesn’t have to be 10,000 but something to work towards. You also can find creative ways to get in as many steps as possible. Consider:
- Skipping the elevator and escalator and taking the stairs
- Do a lap around your building or neighborhood on your lunch break
- During TV commercials, get up and walk around the house
- Park further away and walk to your destination
- Make it a habit to walk the neighborhood or a local park right after work
- Host a virtual walk with family and friends anywhere in the country
How to monitor your steps
One of the simplest ways to monitor your steps is through your smartphone. Many track for you, or there are numerous apps available that can help. There are also Fitbit and Apple watches that track your steps and physical activity.
Not big on technology? Baisden recommends keeping a walking journal. Write down how often you walk or how many steps you believe you took to get an idea of how you are doing.
“You can’t go wrong with walking. Walking is always going to be a benefit to you,” Baisden says.