Is anyone else besides me a bit obsessed with counting their steps? I have a Fitbit Blaze and before that had a Fitbit Zip. If you aren't familiar with the Fitbit, it is a brand of pedometer that counts your steps. Different types can track more things besides your steps, my Blaze also tracks my heartbeat, my sleep and certain types of exercise. I can also track my calories, water intake and use it as a timer or stopwatch. It also is a regular watch, which surprisingly is one of the things I love most about it.
Before I was a fitness instructor and personal trainer, I worked an office job and found it really challenging to get 10,000 steps a day recommended by the American Heart Association. I thought once I didn't have to sit at a desk all day it would be easy to get 10,000 steps a day. It's not! It really does depend on what you are doing. I can teach an hour long group exercise class and its only 2,000 steps. But did I get a great workout? Yes! I know that activity is what is most important, not necessarily steps. However, if you aren't doing any other workout, counting your steps is a great idea and can be a great motivator. It also is a great reminder to keep moving throughout the day. New studies show that you need to be active for at least an hour to counteract sitting for eight hours in a day. That isn't even considering the other benefits of being active, strength training and cardiovascular exercise.
I still strive for 10,000 steps a day no matter what I've done that day. That means some days I am going for a walk after teaching two group exercise classes or making sure I run a few miles on a day I might only be teaching one. I've even been known to walk in place in my living room while watching tv. Here are some ways to get more activity throughout the day (and add some more steps!):
1. Walk while you are on the phone or a conference call - pace back and forth if you don't have far to walk.
2. Make a habit of going for a walk after dinner. It's good for digestion too!
3. Park farther away from wherever you are going.
4. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
5. If you can, walk to run errands instead of driving.
6. If you are at the store or a mall, do an extra lap around before you leave.
7. Have a dance party in your living room! And yes, it is still a dance party even if it is just you and one song!