You might have heard of the fitness gadget known as a Fitbit, one of many new tools available to help you keep tabs on your physical activity. And if you haven’t heard, these sorts of devices are basically sophisticated pedometers that can track and measure your movement throughout the day automatically. Some of the models can also help you track what you eat, your weight and even your quality of sleep. The idea is that simply knowing what you are (or aren’t doing) can help you achieve your goals and make healthier decisions moving forward. (But don’t be overwhelmed with the tech–whether you use a fancy device like a Fitbit, a regular pedometer, or a notebook and pen, simply tracking your progress will help keep you motivated toward reaching your healthy living goals.)
With that in mind, we recently launched an eight-week employee wellness program called Ready Step Go! to encourage everyone in the office – many of them using these fitness monitors – to increase their activity levels and daily steps. The goal? Ten thousand steps every day. By hosting weekly challenges and activities, and by providing program updates and tips, we want to help our employees walk 10k steps a day.
While that may seem like a large number, the American Heart Association recommends walking 10,000 steps a day to help reduce the risk of heart disease. And there are many other benefits to adding more steps to your day including lowering your body mass index, trimming your waist size and decreasing your risk of type 2 diabetes.
Brad Wilson, our CEO, shared a message with employees that his Fitbit is helping him be more aware of what he needs to do to reach his goals:
“It is funny how a wrist band can motivate you to do something that you might not otherwise do. 10,000 steps is my daily goal, and I have to pay attention to get there, particularly during the week when there is too much sitting around.”
How Do You Get to 10K? One Step at a Time.
So how can you cram that much walking into a typical day? Let us count the ways – starting with counting your steps:
- Track your steps: Use a device like a Fitbit, Nike Fuel Band, or Jawbone to track your steps, or download an app like MapMyRun that will track distance. Five miles is roughly the equivalent of 10k steps a day.
- Park far away: Instead of fighting for the front parking spot, go ahead and park in the back of the lot. You’ll rack up more steps walking from your car to the door.
- Walk and talk: Whether you’re taking a conference call, or catching up with your mom on the phone, don’t just sit on the couch! Walk up and down the hallway to add more steps to your day.
- Set a reminder: Set an alarm on your phone or computer to remind you to get up and move during the day.
- Split your lunch hour: Find a buddy and take a stroll after you eat to shake off that post-lunch slump.
- Branch out: Instead of meeting a friend for coffee, take a walk on a greenway or go to the park. You’ll be able to catch up and do something good for your health at the same time.
- TV timeout: Take a station break and get up during TV commercials to move around. Whether it’s to throw another load of laundry in, or to run out and check the mail, every step counts.
- Take the scenic route: Make a detour and take the long way to get to where you’re going. Walk an extra lap around the building, skip the short cut, or take the stairs.
- One-by-one: When unloading groceries, unload them from the car one at a time. Make multiple journeys to and from the car to get your briefcase, your gym bag, and your shopping bags.
- Squeeze in some family time: After dinner take a walk around the neighborhood to keep the good times rolling.
Did you know?
Research shows that wearing a pedometer and tracking steps increases activity by 27%, and that when wearing a pedometer, people were more likely to walk an extra mile per day than they would without it. An extra mile a day can really start to add up! You can read more about the magic of reaching 10,000 steps here.
So far, Blue Cross employees have stepped it up and walked 15,193,951 steps in just one week, and we have seven more weeks left in the challenge.
Comment below and share your tips about how to reach 10,000 steps a day! You can also pin the tips from this post below.