Thursday, 21 January 2016

Five Ways To Get Extra Steps

On Monday I shared my review of my super duper brand new Fitbit Charge HR because one of my resolutions for the year has been to get more active.

In the past I've found a pedometer a useful way to encourage me to be a little more active but my Fitbit shares my results with my friends which makes me try a little bit harder to hit those extra steps. I did a bit of googling back when I got it to find some suggestions for upping your step count but these are some of the techniques I'm using now.

1. Be inefficient

I forget where it was that I read this one, I suspect it was in a blog post. Basically, if you've got a bunch of things to carry from one room to another and you're able to pile them all up and do it in one trip, you might get ten steps; if you carry it in two goes, you might get twenty.

Obviously, you don't always have time to do two or three trips. But when you do have time to be inefficient, it's a good way to get in some extra steps. For example, last week when I was putting the laundry away I stuck the basket on the bed, then I put away a handful of socks, went back to the basket for a couple of tops, went back to the basket for another handful of socks, and so on. My bedroom isn't that big but a racked up a good number of steps doing it that way.

2. Travel further

Some people suggest getting on the bus at the next stop or parking in a further parking space from where you'd normally park. You can do this in smaller ways as well. At work, use the toilet furthest away from you. If you can go up or down a floor, do it. If not, go to the cubicle furthest from the door. It might only be an extra couple of steps, but over the course of a day, they'll mount up.

3. Schedule activity

I am a creature of habit. I've taken to setting my alarm five minutes earlier each day to give me a little more time to get out with the dog. That means I have an extra five minutes of walking time each morning. When the days are lighter I'm hoping to set my alarm even earlier to give me a chance to go even further.

If you know you're going to have a long period of inactivity, try and do something to break it up and get you on your feet. For me at work, this might be a trip to refill my bottle at the water cooler (or given our more recent weather, refill my hot water bottle at the boiler). At home it might be a quick trip into the garden with the dog to let her out. I'm more inclined to do something if I have some sort of reminder to do it; it might be an actual alarm, or just a mental note to stretch my legs once an hour.

4. Share your goals

One of the things I love about my Fitbit is the app which allows me to add people to compete against. I'm slowly adding all my Fitbit-using family and friends and nothing pushes me to get in a few more steps than seeing one of them is beating me. It's one thing to have a personal target but it's something else to share that target with someone. If nothing else you can cheer each other on or commiserate when you've had a bad week.

Even if you're not wanting to compete against some one, just sharing your progress can be helpful. I'm finding the Walk Middle-earth group and Runkeeper a fantastic way to keep track of how I'm doing. We've got different goals and different ability levels, but we're all supporting each other.

5. Just walk

This probably seems obvious. If you want to get more steps in, you need to do the legwork. I've been making an effort to get out morning and evening with the dog, but sometimes the weather, time and other stuff are against you. It's amazing how much you can get in without leaving the house.

Lots of places online advocate walking up and down while you're on the phone. I've become rather partial to marching on the spot while I'm cleaning my teeth. I work a desk job and so often my breaks involve me moving from sitting at my desk to sitting at the canteen. Now, to the bemusement of my colleagues, I may be seen walking round the canteen tables while I text Mr Click. One text can be equal to over a hundred steps and I can send a lot of texts in a day.

Do you track your activity or use a pedometer? What are some of your techniques for increasing your step count?


  1. They just did a bit like this on the TV show Younger. The boss lady was in a competition with someone else, so she gave her Fitbit to her assistant, the main character of the show. Then she told the assistant she had to really work, for the competition had a treadmill desk. Think about that for a moment. A treadmill desk...

    1. I would love a treadmill desk at work! Hehe, when I was looking at tips to increase your steps online people kept on suggesting walking while you're on the phone. I wear a headset at work so I'm pretty much attached to my desk and can't walk very far from it, if I could walk whilst doing everything else, I'd be thrilled.

  2. Sometimes I wander around the house as I read my kindle, just to keep the count ticking over

    1. I did something similar the other day, just pacing around the living room catching up online. It's a good way to get in some activity when you'd not normally be moving.


Let me know what you think. :-)