Yes, you may be confined to your home for a period of time, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be doing your best to get your steps in. Granted, you may not have the option of a large office space or an atypical, jam-packed weekday that has you constantly on your feet. However, that doesn’t mean that you should allow the current state of events to hinder your step goal. In fact, you can still get those 10 000 steps – all in the comfort of your home.
It’s important for you to not become lazy (or spend your time going through your Netflix recommendations), just because you’re spending more time in the house. You may have been an active gym buff before the gyms closed down, but research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that constant sitting may undo all the benefits that your workout provided. What’s more, a separate study published in the Comprehensive Physiology journal found that lack of physical activity can increase the risk of at least 35 different health conditions. Now with the way things are going, the state of your health has never been a bigger priority. Luckily, with walking being such a basic and accessible form of exercise, you’ll get those 10 000 steps in no time.
Why 10 000 steps?
The 10 000 steps goal was originally popularized by Japanese researchers in the 1960s. The researchers found that the average person took 3,500 to 5,000 steps each day, yet by increasing their daily steps to 10 000, they could go on to improve their overall health.
The benefits of walking 10 000 steps
Now before we get into how you can get your 10 000 steps in, let’s look at the health benefits you’ll enjoy when you spend less time on the couch, and more time on your feet.
1. You’ll live longer
There’s definitely a light at the end of this tunnel, and we’re sure that you’d like to see. So, it’s important that you spend less time on your phone, and more time trying to get your steps in.
According to a German study, walking for at just 25 minutes a day can help to add around 7 years to one’s life, and walking for around 10 a day, can add almost 2 years onto an individual’s life.
2. You’ll stress less
What with the current state of affairs, your stress levels must be through the roof. However, as stress can have such a negative impact on your health, it’s important to monitor your stress levels. Luckily, walking is an easy and effective stress-reducing activity – that’s why people pace so much when they’re nervous!
3. You’ll be protected against dementia
Inactivity can have a negative impact on your brain health, but walking can help to prevent all of this.
In fact, research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine journal found that spending 20 minutes of your day walking can help to reduce your risk of dementia by around 40%.
4. You’ll have a stronger heart
A healthy heart is vital for overall health, so it’s important that you take care of it while at home.
That said, the best way to do so would be by getting your steps in. This is because frequent walks can help to lower blood pressure, as well as reduce levels of bad (LDL) cholesterol while increasing levels of good (HDL) cholesterol.
5. You’ll have stronger bones
A weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, places weight on the bones as this is an effective way to help them build strength.
6. You’ll be happier
It would be hard not to feel down as the days roll by. However, it’s important not to let the current circumstances affect your mood.
Taking a walk around the house can help to clear your head and it may even reduce your risk of depression. This is because staying active releases endorphins – chemicals that help to regulate your mood.
7. You’ll be smarter
Sitting at your computer and shuffling through your work emails isn’t the only way you can keep your brain engaged and active.
In fact, any form of physical activity can help to boost your brain, grow new brain cells and even reduce your risk for dementia.
8. You’ll sleep better
Quality sleep is incredibly important for your health, and getting your steps in can help you achieve it.
With the way things are going, it may be hard for you to fall asleep but if you’ve spent your day getting your steps in, falling asleep should be a breeze.
How do I get my steps in at home?
If you’re confined to your home but you don’t want that to deter you from reaching your step goal, here are 6 creative ways to get your steps in.
1. Track Your Steps
If you really need the motivation to get your steps in, then it would be advisable to download apps that offer you ways to track your steps. Be it the Pedometer++, or your trusty FitBit, these apps can help you track your steps and get you one step closer to your goal.
2. Get up – a lot.
Use any excuse you can to get up from the couch or your desk. The best way to do so would be by taking as many breaks as possible.
Get up and go grab a glass of water from the kitchen. Once the glass is empty, use this as an excuse to go to the kitchen to either drop the glass of refill it.
You can also put 20-minute reminders on your phone. They should tell you to get up and walk to every room in the house.
3. Walk your dog (in your yard)
Dogs are always ready to engage in any activity.
Currently, you may not have free reign to walk your dog up and down the street. However, that doesn’t mean that you can play around with your pet in the yard.
4. Play with your kids
Using this time to play with your children won’t only help you get your steps in, but it’ll definitely help to strengthen your bond with each other.
5. Walk While Talking
If you’re taking a few meetings, why don’t you use the time to stretch your legs and walk around?
On your next break, create a playlist of all your favorite songs. Once you’re done with your work for the day, crank up the volume.
Dancing won’t only help you destress from the day’s work, but it also helps you get your steps in – even if you have two left feet.
At the end of the day, whether your goal is 5000, 10 000 or even 13 0000 steps a day, it’s always important to keep moving. If you’re worried that you’re still not getting enough steps in, here are some of our favorite YouTube stars that will ensure that you get your steps, and stay fit, during the current pandemic.
Biswas A, Oh PI, Faulkner GE, et al. (2015). Sedentary Time and Its Association With Risk for Disease Incidence, Mortality, and Hospitalization in Adults: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Ann Intern Med. 162:123–132. doi: https://doi.org/10.7326/M14-1651
Booth, F.W., Roberts, C.K. and Laye, M.J. (2012). Lack of Exercise Is a Major Cause of Chronic Diseases. In Comprehensive Physiology, R. Terjung (Ed.). doi:10.1002/cphy.c110025
Larson, E. B., Wang, L., Bowen, J. D., McCormick, W. C., Teri, L., Crane, P., & Kukull, W. (2006). Exercise is associated with reduced risk for incident dementia among persons 65 years of age and older. Annals of internal medicine, 144(2), 73–81. https://doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-144-2-200601170-00004