35 Creative Ways to Reach 10,000 Steps a Day

two women walking up the stairs in Los Angeles
Go the extra mile; it’s never crowded. (Image: Kristen Schellenberg / LIVESTRONG.COM)

Welcome to week 2 of LIVESTRONG.COM’s 10,000 Steps a Day Challenge! You’ve made it through week 1. Congrats! We hope you’re feeling energized and ready to take on the rest of the challenge.

Now that you’ve established a baseline and figured out about how much you’re walking in a given day, it’s time to get creative with your steps. If you weren’t quite hitting 10,000 steps each day last week, that’s totally fine! Plenty of people are in the same boat as you (just read some of the posts in our challenge Facebook group for encouragement).

If you need some help figuring out how to hit your daily step count, here are a bunch of simple ideas:

  • Pace the bathroom or you home while you brush your teeth.
  • Walk around the kitchen while your coffee brews.
  • Park the car at the other end of the parking lot from work or the store so you have to walk further to get to the building.
  • If there are two bathrooms at work (or wherever you happen to spend the majority of your day), use the one that’s farther away (or even one on a different floor so you have to take the stairs).
  • Take a walk on your lunch break.
  • Walk and talk! If you have a phone call or meeting, take a walk while you do it.
  • Take your pup for an longer walk, or offer to walk the neighbor’s or a friend’s dog.
  • If you need to run a quick errand and the shop is close enough, walk there!
  • Take your afternoon coffee break at a walkable coffee shop nearby instead of in the office.
  • Play tag with your kids in the backyard or some other game that involves a lot of movement. Or offer to do the same with a friend’s or neighbor’s kids.
  • Turn on some music and dance around the kitchen while you cook a meal. (Or you can pace, but dancing is way more fun!)
  • Whenever you can (and if your knees allow), take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
  • Carry shopping bags from your car to the house one at a time.
  • If you’re watching TV, pace the room while the commercials are on.
  • Take the long way to the printer to grab your papers, to the mailbox to drop off a letter or to the kitchen to refill your glass of water.
  • Pick up litter around your office or neighborhood.
  • Pace when you’re waiting at the doctor’s office or any other kind of appointment.
  • Instead of sending an email, walk over to your co-worker’s desk (as long as they don’t look deeply invested in something, of course).
  • Skip the drive-thru and walk inside instead.
  • Clean your house or apartment.
  • Do some work around the yard. Mow the lawn, pull weeds, rake leaves, etc.
  • Take an extra lap around the grocery store.
  • If you take public transportation, get off one stop early (or get on a few stops later).

These may seem silly or small, but every step adds up. And if you implement most of these into your day, you’ll be surprised how quickly you reach that 10,000-step goal. If you need a bigger push, here are some other creative ideas that could work for you, depending on your work and home situation.

  • Walk to and from work. (Or bike!)
  • Walk your kids to and from school.
  • Some offices have treadmill desks. If yours does, use it for simple tasks like phone calls or answering emails. If they don’t, ask your office manager to add it to the wishlist!
  • Join a walking or hiking group. That way you’ll have a schedule and people who you know are counting on you to show up.
  • Meet friends for a hike along the beach or at the park instead of (or in addition to) coffee or drinks.
  • Make a standing date to go a walk every day at a certain time (before work, after dinner, etc.).

Make the Journey a Little More Fun

Basically, if you can walk somewhere, you should walk somewhere! So since you’ll be walking a lot, here’s how you can make each step a little more interesting.

  • Treat yourself to fun, colorful (and comfortable!) walking shoes. A good pair will last for anywhere between 350 and 500 miles, which will likely work out to about six to nine months.
  • Listen to music. Change it up with your mood. If you’re walking to the gym, play upbeat music to get you pumped. If you’re walking before bed, play gentler music to help you wind down.
  • Find a podcast you love and only listen to it during longer walks. Along with our own Stronger podcast, we have a few other recommendations for ones we love.
  • Bring a friend — either a human one or a canine companion.
  • Change up your route. If you always walk to work, the grocery store or the bus stop via one route, pick a different one. Then take some pictures along the way to show the challenge Facebook group what you saw.
  • Dance it out! Sure, you might be in public, but as the saying goes, you should dance like no one is watching. Alternatively, you could also skip or moonwalk!
woman walking into store with her bag from the farmers market
Walk everywhere! (Image: Kristen Schellenberg / LIVESTRONG.COM)

How to Join the Challenge

1. Find some way to measure your daily steps. There are a lot of fitness trackers out there that you can either wear on your wrist or clip to your clothes. If you don’t want to shell out the money for an expensive wearable that you may or may not use after the challenge, most smartphones will track your daily steps (as long as you carry it with you throughout the day, of course).

2. Download the LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate calorie-tracking app. Not only can you input your daily meals, but if you have an iPhone, the app will also pull the data from your phone’s step-counting app HealthKit to show you how many calories you’ve burned each day. (Bonus points, aka calories burned, for any additional workout you do!)

3. Join the LIVESTRONG.COM Challenge Facebook Group. We’ll be posting lots of helpful info and tips, answering all your questions and connecting you to other members of the community who are joining you for the challenge.

4. Post your progress to the group. Keep the rest of the community updated with your daily walking by posting screenshots of your step-counting app or photos of your fitness tracker or what you saw on your daily walk. Maybe you walked through the park at lunch or took a hike over the weekend. We want to see it!

What Do YOU Think?

Will you be joining us for the 10,000 Steps a Day Challenge? Have you joined the Facebook group yet? Have you ever tried a walking challenge before, or do you currently use an app or pedometer to count your steps? What’s your favorite way to get more steps throughout the day? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below! And be sure to follow our host for the challenge, Jamaica King, on Instagram @rarax3.

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