Walking 10,000 steps each day is recognised by researchers worldwide as an achievable amount of daily activity. The National Heart Foundation of Australia recommends all Australians take 10,000 steps every day (that’s the equivalent of eight kilometres) to increase your fitness levels and decrease your risk of heart disease. So how do we measure up? When the 2011-12 Australian Health Survey, which included 20,426 respondents, asked children and adults to wear a pedometer for four days to help measure the amount of daily physical activity we actually achieve, they found that less than 19 per cent of adults recorded 10,000 steps per day.
Don’t despair – you could be surprised at just how quickly the steps, and your fitness levels, pick up. To help you put a foot in the right direction, here are a few tips for how to pack more physical activity into your day.
1. Drop the excuses Things like ‘I’m too tired’, ‘the weather’s not right’ or ‘my feet hurt’ are among the most common reasons why people avoid exercise. If you catch yourself thinking along these lines, try to imagine how good you will feel after your walk or run. And don’t let your feet hold you back. If you have a few blisters, use a protective product such as Scholl Blister Shield Plasters ¬– and carry on!
2. Use your lunch break Getting out of the office at lunch time, even if you only have 10 minutes to spare, can add hundreds of steps to your day. Walk around the block or, instead of hitting the office kitchen for a cuppa, walk down the street to your local café.
3. Rethink your commute It’s easier than you think to add an extra 10 or 15 minute walk to your day. Hop off the train or bus one or two stations early, or park a few blocks away to boost your daily exercise quota. Better yet, dust off your push bike and ride to work. No gyms or personal trainers necessary!
4. Hit the stairs Make it a habit to take the stairs instead of the life or escalator. Not only will you boost your step count, but your calves, quads, hamstrings and glutes will thank you for it!
5. Ditch the remote If you’re channel-surfing, make yourself get up off the couch to do it. Changing channels manually can make a sedentary activity a lot more active. And, if that’s not enough, there’s about 18 minutes of commercials for every one hour program – that’s over a thousand steps you can take around the house in that time!
6. Find an exercise buddy Being accountable to another person is a sure way to help you out the door. Factor in a weekly training session together – rain, hail or shine. For added obligation, update your results on social media.
7. Mix things up Everyday activities such as housework and gardening can help burn kilojoules, but if you find exercise boring, try mixing things up. Why not give boxing, bushwalking or caving a go for a shot of motivation (and adventure).
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