With busy work schedules and home lives, it can be hard to reach your step goal—even when it feels like you’ve been running around all day. In fact, according to our data, while 89% of our users have reached this goal at least once, only 1% manage to do it every day. So if you want to join the ranks of the 1%, read on for a few tips and tricks.
When it comes to reaching your step goal, we give four tidbits of 10K steps a day advice based on patterns found in our data:
- Don’t try to make up for missed step goals on the weekend. Users who consistently meet their step goals tend to work harder Monday through Friday, and allow themselves more rest and relaxation on Saturday and Sunday.
- When you wake up in the morning, get moving! Data shows that the 1% who crush their step goals are active a whole 2 hours before the rest of us.
- Invite a friend to join your leaderboard. People with a friend in their Health Mate app tend to walk 25% more than people who go it alone.
- Run a little bit each week. Users who consistently reach 10,000 steps average just one hour of running a week, or just under 10 minutes each day.
If you still find yourself falling short of 10K after implementing these tips, here are a few more ways to get your feet moving.
1. Walk, don’t drive.
Consider all of the little five to ten minute drives you take in a day. Now ask yourself if any of those could become fifteen to thirty minute walks instead. For example, I drive five minutes from my apartment to campus for classes most evenings. Usually, I make excuses for why I have to drive: my backpack is too heavy, I’m tired, it’s raining—but on the days when I walk, I not only get myself more than 1000 steps closer to meeting my goal, I also feel better in the long run. So the next time you’re planning to drive to the store to pick up lightbulbs, consider grabbing your sneakers instead of the car keys.
2. Train for a race or a charity event.
Signing up for a race or walk is a great way to keep yourself motivated and excited about exercising. If you’re more inclined to delight in sugary treats than athletic pursuits, try a challenge that incorporates both food and fitness. In an April article, Jeanne Simpson covered the “wild world of food and fitness charity events”—like the Krispy Kreme Challenge, whose proceeds go to the UNC’s Children’s Hospital. While such food challenges may not be the best for your blood sugar, the weeks or months spent preparing for the athletic endeavor will undoubtedly improve your health and up your step count.
3. Don’t park so close to the door.
If you do need to drive to run errands, stop looking for spots close to the door and seek out a space in the back of the lot instead. Not only will it save your car from the dings and dents of other cars, it may also help you squeeze a few extra steps into your day. In fact, according to a 2016 article in the New Jersey Herald, some stores are even encouraging it. One New Jersey Walmart posts signs throughout the parking lot with messages like “Welcome to your healthy parking spot. From this sign to Home/Garden & Back: 520 steps.” So even if you don’t have time to walk to the store, you can still sneak in a few hundred extra steps.
4. Find an active adventure to go on weekly.
Whether it’s going to an indoor trampoline park, roller skating, or hiking, there are hundreds of fun activities that can be turned into adventures. Consider bringing your significant other or best friend along. You’ll not only be more likely to plan an activity and stick to it, but you’ll also have more fun. And instead of feeling as though you’re pulling teeth to meet your step goal, an adventurous outing will leave you joyful and motivated, with thousands of steps under your belt as a bonus.
5. Set a step goal that works for you.
For anyone who has been living a truly sedentary lifestyle, getting past 1,000 steps a day can feel like a hurdle, let alone 10,000. If jumping straight into a 10K step goal is overwhelming, don’t be afraid to start small and work your way up. By going to “Profile,” then “My Goals” on the Health Mate app, you can modify your step goal. Start with a goal that’s realistic for you, then add a couple hundred steps each week. As you slowly increase your goal, your habits will change, and eventually reaching 10,000 steps won’t feel quite so challenging.
However you plan to accomplish your goal, walking 10,000 steps a day can help you maintain a healthy weight, improve your cardiovascular health, and and lower stress. Strap on your watch and hit the trails—healthier living is just a few steps away.