6 Tips for Increasing Your Daily Step Count

Walking is a great way to improve health and mental wellbeing, which is why many of us look to incorporate a stroll into our daily routine.

10,000 steps have long been the desired target for a healthy lifestyle; however, recent studies have found that between 6,000 to 8,000 steps are in fact enough to reduce health complications in later life.

Yet, the average Brit is not even hitting this reduced target, as the NHS report we achieve on average just 4,000 steps a day.

Waterproof accessory retailer, Sealskinz, spoke with fitness and medical experts to find some easy ways to increase your daily step count.

Emily Servante, certified Personal Trainer and Global Trainer Education Manager at Ultimate Performance, explains, “Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) is the energy expended for everything we do when we’re not sleeping or exercising and can have a much bigger impact on our health than an hour’s workout in the gym.

NEAT can be anything from mowing the lawn or walking up a flight of stairs. They all burn calories, and more than we would expect.”

To increase your NEAT, James Moody, director of Sealskinz, and Servante, suggest the following tips:

Go to the shops

While the Internet has made our lives infinitely more convenient and often save time, it can also lead to a sedentary lifestyle. Relying on food deliveries for weekly groceries cuts out a huge number of steps which would otherwise have been achieved.

Actions such as walking the aisles or carrying your groceries home or to the car all add up, so where you can try cut down on the amount of online orders.

Set goals

Reaching a specific step count has also been shown to be imperative for improved mental health, with 73% of Brits setting step goals to maintain mental health and reduce stress levels.

“A study showed that ramping up activity levels was clearly associated with a reduction in negative mental health symptoms, for example, anxiety and depression, but at the same time, an improvement in energy levels”, adds Dr Lee.

Get a standing desk

“The workplace is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to declining activity. Minor manual tasks that used to be routine in sedentary occupations now require no physical effort due to computerization and mechanization.” Servante had to say.

Standing desks can provide a multitude of benefits, from helping to reduce back and neck pain, improving posture and circulation. Importantly, they can also be excellent for increasing your step count as you’ll be much more likely to move around if you’re already on your feet says Moody.

Break up your day

Adding in short walks throughout the day can help to not only increase your step count but also reduce stress levels and improve mood.

Exercise has also been shown to increase the production of β-endorphins within the brain, elevating mood and inducing feelings of relaxation, in addition to increased levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF) which support the production of serotonin.”, says Dr Deborah Lee from Dr Fox Online Pharmacy.

Take actions such as walking to the second nearest café instead of the one directly next to your building or go for a 10-to-15-minute stroll every few hours to get your legs working. Once you get into the habit of regular walking, you’ll crave the movement, adds Servante.

Walk or cycle to work

Walking and cycling are both excellent for cardiovascular health and by giving up the car for a couple of days a week, you’ll see your step count increase dramatically.

If it isn’t achievable to walk or cycle into work, Moody suggests implementing small actions such as getting off the bus or train a stop early and walking the difference, which could add hundreds of steps to your daily count.

He also recommends taking a quality waterproof to protect your workwear should the weather change.

Take the stairs

This is by far the simplest way to expend more energy throughout the day, and the easiest to accomplish, says Servante. Where possible, choose to take the stairs over a lift or escalator. If your office or flat is on the 10th floor, even taking the lift halfway and walking the rest can make a huge difference.

Rachel Bartee

Rachel Bartee is a blogger and freelance writer dreaming of a tour round the world to write a story of her greatest life adventure. For the time being, she feels inspired by her daily yoga sessions and studies Interpersonal Relationships.