My experience with how to get your 10,000 steps a day.
Four years ago, I started counting my steps.
I became an obsessive step counter after a mother on my daughter’s club volleyball team received a FitBit for Christmas. Once she started counting her steps, she challenged the rest of the team moms to count our steps too.
So I got the entry-level FitBit and started counting.
The first day I had my FitBit on, I was busy. I had a dozen errands to run and was all over town from the time I dropped my girls at school to when I picked them up.
When I finally made it home, I was tired from all the running around. I just knew I had reached my goal of 10,000 steps.
But when I looked at my FitBit, it said I had walked just under 5,000 steps.
Whomp. Whomp. Whomp.
That’s when I learned busy did not equate to steps.
I had to become intentional about getting 10,000 steps a day.
How to Get Your 10,000 Steps a Day
1. Set a Goal
Take your first week of wearing your step tracker to get a baseline of how much walking you do each day. It’s really eye-opening to see how much (or how little) you are already moving.
Then set a goal. It doesn’t have to be 10,000 steps, but it does need to be more than what you are currently walking.
Write your goal down.
Thinking about a goal is great, but writing it down takes your thoughts and turns them into commitments. So write it down.
(Bonus points if you’ll write your goal down then post it where everyone will see it.)
2. Schedule Your Steps
I can tell you from experience it takes an average of 1 hour of quick walking to reach your 10,000 steps.
Take that one hour and schedule it.
Again, I encourage you to actually write your walking time into your schedule.
Writing it down helps you take action on your commitment.
You don’t need to have a dedicated hour each day. You can break it down into 10 minute chunks.
There are several days when I set a timer to work for 50 minutes, then I get up and spend 10 minutes walking. It’s amazing how good it feels to get up and move after prolonged periods of sitting!
3. Find a Partner
Getting in shape is way more fun when you have a partner.
Find a friend or enlist your dog. Commit to a daily walk and hold each other accountable.
Can’t find a friend to join you?
One of the things I loved best about my FitBit was the ability to connect with my friends through the app.
Even though we weren’t walking together, we held one another accountable. Almost daily we sent each other notes of encouragement.
And let’s be honest, we also sent notes of: HA! I BEAT YOU TODAY!
4. Embrace This Scandinavian Adage
“There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.”
My friends and I decided we wanted to set a weather limit. We decided if it was 32 degrees or below, we wouldn’t walk outside.
Then my mother-in-law told me she and her friends had done the same thing. Their limit was 17 degrees.
Suffice it to say, we subsequently adjusted our wimpy weather limit.
Therefore, if it is above 17 degrees, we bundle up in our cold weather gear and head out to get our steps.
My favorite place to get good, quality outwear is 6pm. I’ve been able to purchase high quality brands like Marmot and Patagonia for 75% to 80% off.
Good gear is an investment, but I don’t mind wearing last year’s styles if it means I’ll stay warm and save money at the same time.
5. Find a Gentle Surface
Knees, hips, ankles … all joints benefit from a soft surface.
Start with your shoes. A good running store will evaluate your gait and recommend a pair of shoes right for you.
Sometimes, in addition to wearing good shoes, it’s worth it to find a soft walking surface.
Most high schools will have a track with a surface that is softer than pavement.
If you mainly walk on pavement, your joints may enjoy walking on the high school track a few days a week.
What I’ve found is if you are in pain, you won’t do the exercise. Therefore, it is in your best interest to invest in good walking shoes and a forgiving walking surface.
6. Be Consistent
As with any new habit, you need to be consistent in order to improve.
When I find myself reluctant to go out and exercise, I ask myself:
How many days, weeks, or months am I willing to stay stuck where I am?
Following through on my commitment to myself today means I’m further down the road tomorrow.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:
What’s so magical about hitting 10,000 steps?
Well, it depends on who you ask. In my humble opinion, it is a nice round number that is achievable on a daily basis. And as I found, even if you are moving, you may not be moving enough to maintain a healthy life.
Making it a goal to hit 10,000 steps ensures you are up and moving throughout the day.
Why are you showing us your phone not your FitBit?
Honestly? I wore my FitBit 24/7. One night I slept on my arm and the FitBit got too hot and I woke up with a small burn.
I’m not telling you this to slam FitBit. I still think they make an amazing product and the technology has definitely advanced since I purchased mine.
But once I found out my phone counted my steps (although I don’t think it’s incredibly accurate), I just decided I didn’t want to spend the money to invest in another tracker.
Although, to be perfectly honest, I am eyeballing an Apple Watch for the ease of wearing it on my wrist instead of always having to have a pocket.