Walking can be a powerhouse when it comes to getting and staying healthy by boosting your heart health and giving you more focus and energy. Having a goal to increase the number of steps you take in a day has proven health benefits. Walking, or the number of steps you take daily contributes to the CDC’s recommendation of at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week. Making a goal of at least 10,000 steps a day can also strengthen your lungs, bones, and muscles. Walking 10,000 steps works out to approximately five miles which is the number said to help reduce certain health conditions, such as high blood pressure and heart disease.
Knowing that a good daily walking program provides many benefits for your health, you want to be able to keep it up year-round. How do you keep up a walking routine when it’s too cold, rainy, or snowy to simply go outside for a walk? In certain weather, you can just bundle up and go, but that’s not always feasible or safe depending on the severity of the conditions, or if you’re like me, I simply can’t stand being cold. To keep up consistency, walking is something that needs to be done every day of the year in a way that’s simple and accessible.
Good news! There are effective ways of getting in steps or increasing your steps while indoors, and in many cases, without even leaving your home.
Some of these ideas for getting in more steps while confined indoors or having limited time outdoors may seem obvious. However, there may be some new ideas you hadn’t even thought about, and some of them you can do without leaving your own living room.
Starting with the most obvious solution, you can always find a treadmill at the gym or fit one into a small space in your home, making it incredibly accessible to hop on and take a walk. What’s nice is you can watch TV, read a book, or make a phone call while walking. If you have a treadmill, consider replacing the times you might otherwise sit to do something, like playing a game on your phone or watching TV, and do that instead while walking at a safe speed on the treadmill. For most people, a safe multitasking walking speed might be 2.0 to 2.5. For an extra challenge, increase the incline on your treadmill to between a 1%-3% grade.
There once was a time that if you wanted a standing desk, you’d probably have to build it yourself. With the increase in desk and computer time for most people, standing desks have grown in popularity. Standing on its own is already more active than sitting, but for the purpose of getting steps, if you stand while working, you can occasionally sway side to side, stretch your legs, or make small lunges.
A walking pad is a treadmill without frills. Traditional treadmills can be expensive, bulky, and take up a lot of space wherever you put them. It is also difficult to move if you decide to change where to put it. A walking treadmill is compact enough to put under your desk, or it can be used on its own to easily get in lots of steps every day. Some walking pads can even be folded so they can be moved from room to room or easily stored.
Any time you take a phone call, pace back and forth in the room you’re in, whether it’s a home office, bedroom, or kitchen, even if it’s a small space, you can pace back and forth, walk in a small circle, do a box step, or side to side stepping. Even better, if you can move from room to room in your house, go for it!
Dancing in the kitchen is a fun way to get in some extra steps throughout the day. The kitchen works well for sliding and dancing in socks, or if you need more stability, you can wear your shoes or non-skid slippers. Even if you can’t dance, you can make up any kind of steps, whether they’re side to side, in a square pattern, or in circles. Just have fun with it!
Forward or reverse lunges don’t require a lot of space, and every lunge counts toward your steps. Deep lunges can be tough, but for the effort of getting in steps, a light lunge will do.
In the cold, wet, and snowy months, walking outside isn’t the best; however, if you’re outside for the necessities like running errands, or walking to work, park further away from the door. Chances are you’ve already had to bundle up to make the trek outside, so it’s a good time to capitalize on the distance you walk. Rather than parking close to the door for efficiency’s sake, park further from the door and make an investment in your health.
If you have video subscription services, chances are you have access to video workouts too! YouTube also offers plenty of free workouts for you to try. Do a search for shadowboxing or even a light workout that keeps your feet moving in any direction.
It may seem as though you’re locked inside during the short, cold days of winter, but new, fresh ideas can keep you motivated and moving. If you’re already doing some or any of these things, pick a new one and watch those steps accumulate in a more unconventional way.