Staying at home more and keeping your distance from society doesn’t have to sabotage your weight loss efforts. In fact, walking is one of the easiest and most effective exercises you can do anywhere to lose weight and improve your mental and physical health. If you’re looking for ways to add 2,000 steps (about a mile) to your daily routine, consider these 11 simple strategies.
1 Take 5-minute walking breaks every hour.
Sitting for long periods of time can have a negative impact on blood flow. However, the good news is that you can counteract the effects of sitting with a simple technique. Stand up and take a 5-minute walk break every hour. Walk around the house, or around the block. This will help increase your step count and improve your mobility.
2 Take the stairs.
Stairs offer an easy way to get your heart rate up fast, burn more calories, and get more steps in your day. If you’re sheltering in place and people are still using the elevator in your apartment building, fewer people are likely to utilize the stairs, so it’s a great way to progress while socially distancing yourself.
3 Trekking long distances.
Instead of cutting corners on your house or on your daily outdoor walks, take as long a walk as possible to your destination. This will only take a few extra minutes, but it increases your step count. What’s more, the long way is probably the least crowded route, allowing you to practice your social distance.
4 Stepping in Place.
It’s easy to default to being on the couch while watching your favorite show. Instead, try marching in place when you’re watching TV or during commercial breaks – or while you’re brushing your teeth or waiting for your coffee or tea to brew. You can also use a special walking workout DVD to increase your step count and get a great workout without leaving the house.
5 Walk and talk.
A quick chat with a co-worker, a conference call, or a long conversation with friends and family are all great times to add steps to your day. All you have to do is pace around your home office or living room during the call, or even go outside and enjoy the sunshine while you chat.
6 Explore walking-assisted activities.
Instead of choosing activities that cause you to sit down (like watching a movie), add more activities to your day that require walking. For example, kicking a ball around in the backyard, organizing and cleaning up around the house, or trying a new recipe (meal prep can help you get that extra step in the kitchen).
7 Drive less.
If you live close to a grocery store, consider walking instead of driving. This will save money on gas and help you take an extra 2,000 steps on a trip. Plus, carrying heavy groceries will also boost your energy.
8 Use a small water bottle
Staying hydrated is important for weight loss. Rather than drinking from a large water bottle or glass, consider using a small water bottle. This will require you to get up more frequently to refill it, and these steps will add up over time.
9 Make it a double.
You don’t have to take all of your daily steps at once. Splitting your walking workout into morning and evening sessions is a great way to build your walking habit. Even walking for 10 minutes multiple times a day can have a big impact on your step count and help prevent injuries if you’re just starting out.
10 Get the family involved
Hide-and-seek, hide and seek, treasure hunts and even ball tossing are activities that most children enjoy. Getting the whole family involved in fun, active games will not only increase your step count, but also serve as a time for bonding.
11 Consider a furry friend.
There’s no doubt that a pet will get you outdoors for walks more often, which helps you lose weight. Dogs also provide companionship, help you de-stress, and keep you accountable for increasing your step count. Now is the perfect time to consider adopting, fostering, or seeing if your local shelter needs help walking your dog.