If you’re wondering about how to get 10000 steps a day, I’m assuming you’re already convinced that 10000 steps a day is good for better health, fitness and fat loss.
On the other hand, if you’re one of those skeptics who’s not sure about the 10000 steps a day goal, or if you think 10000 daily steps was chosen (arbitrarily) by a pedometer company for marketing, you’re not entirely mistaken. That’s part of the history you can trace back to the 1960s. (Look up “Manpo-Kei” or read my previous blog post if you want to learn more about the origin and validity of the 10000 steps a day number):
Is 10,000 steps a day a good goal? (Burn the Fat Blog)
Fortunately, thanks to recent research, we know that 10,000 steps a day is a good goal, although any increase in steps above where you are now is helpful if you’re sedentary and desk bound. That’s true even if it means going from 5000 steps a day to only 7000 steps a day.
If you’re doing less than 5,000 steps a day, you are sedentary and that’s not good for your health. But there’s no shame in doing a little less than 10,000 daily steps. Excellent health benefits can be achieved with as little as 7000 to 9000 steps a day.
Nevertheless, 10000 steps a day is a venerated goal for millions of people.
Many people would like to get more active by walking more and upping their step count. The problem is, they’re intimidated by how to get 10000 steps a day or they think it’s impossible, either due to their current fitness and stamina levels being low, or even more often, because they don’t have more time to commit to it.
The truth is, while 10000 a day is a challenge, it may be easier than you think when you know how. It’s possible to accumulate those steps a little at a time over the course of the whole day with creative strategies. Walking is one of those endeavors where small improvements and little efforts add up, sometimes almost imperceptibly. Sometimes the best strategy is to think small.
Whether you are inactive and simply want to increase your steps by a couple thousand, you want to hit 10000 steps a day, or you want to be a high stepping outlier and crank out 15000 to 20000 steps or more, this post is going to show you easy and clever ways to do it.
Before I share this list, I’d like to thank all our awesome Burn The Fat Feed The Muscle Facebook group members who contributed a lot of these ideas:
Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle Facebook group.
I posted to our group recently asking how people were consistently getting 10,000 steps a day or more, The replies scrolled for pages. I combined the answers from our members with the strategies I use myself as well as what I’ve seen recommended in the scientific research. The result is the awesome list in this blog post.
By the way, I’m assuming you already have a fitness tracker or an app for your mobile phone that tracks steps. Otherwise, that would be tip number one. I use the Fit Bit Charge 4. Amazon sometimes has this model at a discount of 20% or more. This is our Amazon associates (affiliate) link.
1. Schedule your walks
Psychology studies show that scheduling the time and date (and naming the place) that you intend do something doubles the rate of goal achievement. It’s great to pick up random steps throughout the day, and there are lots of ideas how to do that in this list, but when planning walks for exercise, always put walking in your calendar (weight lifting too!)
2. Pace between sets when you lift weights
Years ago I wrote a blog revealing one of the reasons I found it fairly easy to hit 10,000 steps a day or more. I lift most days of the week, and I explained that my trick was pacing around the gym floor between sets instead of sitting down and lounging on the bench. Because I do quite a few sets, I easily add 2500-3000 steps per day.
Move a little, lose a lot: My NEAT step experiment
3. Walk when you talk on the phone
If you have a mobile phone, then you’re not connected to a cord anymore! If you want to get 10,000 steps a day more easily, simply walk around the office, house, or neighborhood while talking on the phone.
4. Pace while you brush and floss your teeth
It doesn’t take long to brush and floss, but if you can walk and chew gum at the same time, you can brush and walk at the same time. A few steps here, a few steps there. It all adds up.
5. Take the stairs instead of the elevator
Everyone has heard this tip, but few people practice it. I live on the 6th floor of my building, and I take the stairs far more than the elevator. Maybe you’ll get a pass if you live on the top floor of the Central Park Tower. (If you do live there and want me to watch your place when you’re on vacation, let me know).
6. Spend more of your non-working (weekend, vacation) time in places where you can walk.
Visit museums, art galleries, shopping malls, amusement parks, city walks, or parks. If you’re out in the country, hit the trails or quiet back roads.
7. Trade sedentary hobbies for physical ones
Take up physical hobbies or sports. Activities like gardening or golf are enjoyable and can skyrocket your step count.
8. Adopt hiking as a hobby and take a long one every weekend
Hiking is one of the greatest physical hobbies. Not only is walking good for you, so is being in nature. Plan for at least one long hike per week, even if you have to drive to get there.
9. Get off the bus or train one stop earlier
In both directions, to work and from work, if you have the time, hop off the bus, train or subway one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way.
10. If you live in a walkable city, ditch your car
If you have no car, you won’t be tempted to drive a half a mile across town to the grocery store, you’ll walk there. If you live where it’s a bit too far to walk everywhere, get a bike. Having no car is one less expense too.
11. Park in the back of the parking lot
I find it ironic how many people will do laps around a nearly full parking lot, going up and down each row, looking for the closest parking space, when they could park in the back, walk (get some steps), and sometimes still get inside in the same time or less.
12. Do your own grocery shopping and walk to the store if possible
I’m friends with a lot of entrepreneurs and high achievers who tell me that successful and busy people don’t “waste time” food shopping. They have others shop for them or have food delivered. I get it. And yet, being more physically active for health and a long life is never wasting time. Better still, walk to the store if possible. I do my own food shopping to this day. (Besides, those delivery services seem to pick the worst looking fruits and vegetables).
13. Take the cart back inside the grocery store
Even if you have to drive to the store, grocery shopping can tack on a lot of steps. You’ll get even more if you return your cart to the store instead of leaving it out in the lot.
14. Take multiple trips carrying groceries into the house
Some people appear to want the Guinness record for how many bags of groceries they can carry into the house at once. But why not make those trips a bit easier and increase your steps by breaking them up into two or three trips with less to carry each time?
15. Meet friends for walking coffee
Why not drink your coffee and chat while walking? Why just sit there? especially when the weather is nice.
16. Have walking meetings at work
If small group meetings are a part of your job, then why not make them walking meetings? through the hallways, courtyards, etc). If it appears to not be a part of the company culture where you work, have your superiors look into the effects of ill health on health care costs, absenteeism, and job performance. That’ll get their attention.
17. During lunch break, take a walk or climb up and down the stairs
Eat your lunch a bit more quickly (packing your own healthy lunch that can be quickly eaten helps). Then use the rest of your break to walk up and down the halls or around the building, or up and down the stairs.
18. Walk to work
If you live within walking distance to work, walk, don’t’ drive. Biking is great too if the distance is a bit on the long side.
19. Get a desk treadmill
I’ll be honest, I don’t think I could work while walking in front of the desk. However, a lot of people can. I know because I’ve heard from dozens of people who told me they did it. Deskmill meme recently seen on Facebook: “1.5 miles per hour. Better than sitting on my assphault-like chair for 8 hours”).
NEAT tricks to b urn more fat without going to the gym
20. Get an active job
If you’re changing jobs or careers, consider a physically active one. If your profession requires being desk bound, then if possible, choose a workplace where you at least have opportunities to get out of your chair multiple times a day.
21. If you’re fit enough, run sometimes instead of walking
I know some people don’t like to run (only walk), or can’t run due to injury. But if you’re fit and healthy enough to run, and if you like to run, then run sometimes instead of walking. Running helps you accumulate twice (or more) the steps in the same time. I can knock off 10,000 steps in 45 to 50 minutes.
22. Listen to audiobooks or podcasts while walking or doing cardio
Listening to podcasts or audiobooks while walking or doing any cardio machine (stationary bicycle, stairclimber, treadmill, elliptical, etc) is the only legitimately great way to multi-task. On cardio machines or treadmills you can read print books as well. In addition, psychologists from Wharton have found that if you love reading, listening to audio, or watching TV, then allowing yourself to do it only while exercising is one of the best behavior change strategies.
23. Never sit through commercials
Who wants to watch commercials anyway? Get up during every commercial break and walk around (not to the refrigerator, though!)
24. Make a rule to watch movies and TV (Netflix etc) only while on the treadmill
Even better than getting up at every commercial break is to only allow yourself to watch indulgent shows when you are on a treadmill or other cardio machine.
25. Watch guided walk videos on the treadmill
Love nature, but you’re a city dweller? Watch guided walk videos, including nature walk videos. Watch on your phone or tablet, or get a smart treadmill with guided walk programs included in the subscription.
26. If you’re moving, consider a city that is walkable
If you have to move and have any choice in the matter, consider a walkable city. Studies show that the built environment influences how active you are. People who live in walkable cities have step averages that eclipse people in less walkable communities and sprawling suburbs. Don’t live in a city? Don’t want to? Don’t worry. At least try to live in the country near trails.
27. If you live somewhere with bitter cold winters, invest in a home treadmill
I know. Treadmills are expensive (I just bought one – ouch to the wallet). Don’t have enough money yet? Save it, borrow it, finance it, charge it. You can’t put a price tag on your health. It’s worth it. Alternately check out used or refurbished treadmills and you may find a bargain.
28. Commit to daily walking, regardless of the weather
Bad weather is a common excuse. Never let a little rain or snow keep you from a commitment you made to walking. Make dangerous conditions the only exception (lighting, tornado warning, white out blizzard, sheer ice, or frostbite risk).
29. If you live near the beach, walk it every day
Live near the coast? Don’t take it for granted. Walk it every day, with gratitude for how lucky you are. Lots of people wish they could live in a place like you.
30. Get a Fitbit and invite friends to workweek hustle and weekend warrior challenges
Little competitions, even 5 days or 2 days at a time are great motivators. Even greater motivation is the social aspect, because connection is one of our intrinsic needs as humans.
31. Join a walking club
There are walking clubs everywhere. In New York City, there is one called the Shorewalkers. Twice I have joined them for a circumnavigation of Manhattan, 32 miles! It was awesome! And of course Shorewalkers and other walking clubs have get togethers in shorter distances too.
32. Get a walking partner
Accountability is everything. So is social connection. Walking in solitude has its advantages, but if you need motivation not to miss, then schedule walks with a friend or family member.
33. Take a date walk
Walk before or after a movie or dinner date. Or even just walk. Why not? (It’s free!)
34. Take a family walk every evening after dinner
It never hurt anyone to increase family time together. Why settle for just dinner time? Why not extend your time together by making an after dinner walk a ritual every evening? It gives you even more time to talk about your day while also getting your steps in.
35. Push a baby stroller
New member in the family? Take your baby for a walk in the stroller. There are strollers made specially for exercise, with adjustable handles and special tires for a more comfortable ride. You could even run. The other day I was running around the park and a woman ahead of me was pushing her stroller running. I had my sports watch on and she must have been doing a 9:30 minute mile. Wow! I was impressed.
36. Get a dog, especially a breed that demands a lot of walking
I am a (unapologetic) total cat lover. However, some of the highest step counts I have ever seen from participants in our Burn the Fat Million Step Challenges are dog owners (and therefore, by default, dog walkers).
67-year old walks 4 million steps in 100 days. Here’s how she did it
37. Walk more at the airport
If you have to fly somewhere, you’re going to have to sit for a while. So before your departure and after your arrival, why not walk as much as you can? Use the stairs, not the escalator and walk instead of riding the moving sidewalks.
38. Break your 10,000 steps a day into smaller chunks
How many miles is 10000 steps? People often try to calculate how far 10000 steps is and conclude that it’s about 5 miles. They envision that taking the better part of two hours, and it’s intimidating. Instead, why not set daily mini goals such as 2000 steps before breakfast, 4000 steps by noon, 8000 by dinner time. Or, break it up into even smaller chunks. Breaking big goals into little ones is always a winning strategy. All you have to do is focus on the next little goal in front of you.
39. Get up and walk for a few minutes on the hour every hour
You’d be surprised how many steps you can accumulate across an 8-hour workday if you simply get up and walk a few minutes every hour. You can even use a fitness tracker or step counter on your phone and set it to remind you to get up and walk for at least a few minutes on the hour every hour. Three minutes of walking will give you about 250 steps. This trick alone can add 2000 steps to your daily total and you’ll hardly notice it. (And it’s not that hard to bump it to 3000 steps)
How to get healthier with 3 minute exercise
40. Commit to finish your daily step goal no matter what
Want to know how to get 10,000 steps a day? Set the goal, and commit to doing it no matter what. If you have a daily step goal and you see you’re a little short in the evening, keep your commitment. Hop on the treadmill, walk around the block or even pace around the house. Commit, don’t quit!
Now get up, go out and walk!
There you have it! 40 simple ways to get more steps in and even easily hit 10,000 steps a day or more!
But wait, there’s one more way, and it might be the best one of them all: Enter our step challenge contest!
We call it the Burn the Fat 1 Million step fitness challenge because it’s 100 days long. 100 days X 10000 steps a day is 1 million steps!
There’s probably no better way to get motivated to hit 10000 steps a day than to accept this free fitness challenge. It’s fun, you’ll get fit, and you’ll meet a ton of great people too.
Visit the page below to see when the next event starts:
Author of Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle – The Bible Of Fat Loss
Founder, Burn the Fat Inner Circle
PS. This blog was one of the most popular posts of the year so far, and the most shared on Facebook by far. Since then, I’ve had a ton of conversations with readers who have been sharing even more ways to walk more and get 10,000 steps a day. I’ve been coming up with more ideas myself. So, that prompted me to create a PS / addendum with even more strategies to get more steps. Here you go – more bonus tips:
Bonus tip #1: Answer text messages and emails on your mobile phone while walking.
I have to give a warning first. Have you seen those stories in the news where someone not being mindful and not paying attention to their footpath in front of them tripped and fell into a fountain, river or lake, or tripped and splatted on the pavement, or even (gasp) walked off a cliff? It happened. (There are lots of walking-texting accident fail videos on you tube). So if you use this strategy, do it somewhere safe. I was out on a flat, wide, country dirt road with almost no traffic the other day, and while sometimes I like to walk peacefully and mindfully with no phone at all, enjoying nature, on that particular day, I found that in less than 45 minutes, I had answered ALL my email and text messages. Ya gotta be careful with multi-tasking (never do this when driving of course!), but I was delighted to walk so many steps and clear my email at the same time.
Bonus tip #2: Read while walking.
The same caveat with walking and texting goes for walking and reading if you’re doing it while walking outdoors. But it is easy to read and walk on a treadmill at the same time. The other day it was after dinner and I was short on my step goal. But I was also behind on work. I had a long (28 page) scientific journal article I had to read so I could write a review of it the next day. I decided that instead of reading it in a chair, to read it walking. I only set the treadmill to about 2.6 mph, and at that really slow speed it was easy to read – and safely too. Another multi-tasking win! I exceeded my step goal and finished the paper.
About Tom Venuto, The No-BS Fat Loss Coach
Tom Venuto is a natural bodybuilding and fat loss expert. He is also a recipe creator specializing in fat-burning, muscle-building cooking. Tom is a former competitive bodybuilder and today works as a full-time fitness coach, writer, blogger, and author. In his spare time, he is an avid outdoor enthusiast and backpacker. His book, Burn The Fat, Feed The Muscle is an international bestseller, first as an ebook and now as a hardcover and audiobook. The Body Fat Solution, Tom’s book about emotional eating and long-term weight maintenance, was an Oprah Magazine and Men’s Fitness Magazine pick. Tom is also the founder of Burn The Fat Inner Circle – a fitness support community with over 55,000 members worldwide since 2006. Click here to learn more about Burn the fat Inner Circle
Two more suggestions: (1) People on high floors of buildings — no excuse for not climbing more stairs. If you live on say, the 32nd floor, and are not fit enough, or don’t have time to climb all 32, get off the elevator at 30 and climb 2. Every little bit helps. (2) I enjoy walking in airports, especially between flights, now that I know about gate-checking. Most people bring a maximum size wheeled carry on to avoid paying for checked luggage, and on a full flight, there isn’t enough bin space for all of them. When I get to the gate, I ask the airline staff if they are looking for people to give up their larger carry-on bag, and they are almost always delighted to take mine, for me to pick up on arrival. That way, on my lay-over, I can walk around the airport without dragging that cumbersome bag.
I was astonished to find that I took 5000 steps just by weed whacking my 1 acre lot! Admittedly, it is on a hill top so many short trips up and down the slopes. What I really noticed was the workout that my biceps got; they were sore for two days.