If you’ve got a fitness tracker, and you’ve decided to jump on the step-tracking bandwagon, you may be jealous of people who live in cities where they have to walk everywhere, or work jobs where they’re on their feet all day. But what if you wake up and commute to the other end of the house, or otherwise don’t have many opportunities to add steps to your routine? Here are some ways you can play, too.
Before we get into the tips, I want to be clear that the default setting of 10,000 steps is a bullshit goal. Companies use it because it sounds good and because it’s slightly ambitious for the average person. If you’re starting from a much lower number, go into your settings and adjust your goal to something reachable. (For example, if you get 2,000 steps on an average day, you may want to set it to 5,000 so you can feel something other than disappointment as you improve upon your current habits.)
Once you’re hitting that number regularly, consider bumping it up further. But remember that steps aren’t everything; if you’re doing other types of exercise, your body is still getting the benefits even if your tracker doesn’t register them in your step count.
Still, if you like the step tracking, try some of these ideas:
Go for walks
Yes, this is a dead obvious tip, but it’s also a good one. For the longest time I kept looking for opportunities to walk to the shops or to go for a hike in an interesting place. But my days instantly got better (and my step count skyrocketed!) when I started going on a little walk to nowhere every morning.
Play an active video game
When this question gets asked on Reddit, people often pipe up to recommend specific video games. Pokémon Go asks you to walk around to hatch eggs, and you need to go to specific real-world places to catch new creatures and make them fight each other. All you need to play it is a free app on your phone. Nintendo’s Ring Fit Adventure is another popular game that will get you moving, and this one you can play in your living room. We’ve also covered the fitness aspects of VR headsets; just choose a game that registers as steps on your tracker, since some of them only have you wave your arms around.
Walk the dog
I’m not saying you should get a dog just so you can take it for walks, but if there’s a pup in your life, they would probably love to help you reach your step goal. Walk your own dog, your neighbour’s dog, or consider taking a weekly volunteer shift at the local shelter.
Walk during meetings
If you take a lot of phone calls in your home office, don’t resist the temptation to stand up and pace around while you’re talking. And now that so many meetings are on Zoom, consider if you can do some of those camera-off calls while on an outdoor walk. Just be polite and mute appropriately.
Do a walking video
If you can get over the slight weirdness of walking in place, try one of the many walking exercise videos on YouTube, a genre that made our list of the best workout videos to do alone. Regular dance-themed aerobics videos can do the trick, as well.