Visualise it: Taking 10 000 steps – without a tracker

Getting 10000 steps can be difficult, and if you don’t have a tracker, how do you make sure you move enough in a day?

What you need to know: 10 000 steps = 8 kilometres. Therefore 1250 steps = 1 kilometre.

Do you really need that many steps?

While it can’t hurt you to increase your daily movement, the 10 000-steps-per-day “rule” doesn’t have a scientific basis; it was actually a marketing strategy to sell a brand of pedometers in Japan. “Pedometers sold in Japan in the 1960s were marketed under the name “manpo-kei,” which translates to “10,000 steps meter,” said Catrine Tudor-Locke, director of the Walking Behaviour Laboratory at Pennington.

What studies have confirmed, though, is that walking in general has health benefits, but there is no official “law” saying that 10 000 steps per day, alone, determines your overall health status.

How to take the first step

It is a good idea to use 10 000 steps as a reference. Keeping track of how many steps you walk makes it easier to stay active.

Experts agree that 10 000 steps is approximately 8 kilometres, which is a great goal to aim for. Here are two practical ways that you can use to measure the amount of strides you are taking every day:

Take the stairs: We know that the lift is very inviting, but you’re not going to notch up a lot of steps; rather measure how many strides it takes you to climb one flight of stairs.

Your car to the front door of your office: For many of us, walking from our car to the office is taken for granted. This is a great opportunity to count your steps as well as a bit of cardio and get your heartrate up.

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Now, instead of counting each step, you can just count each lap: eg: I took 4 flights of stairs twice today, which amounts to x steps.

Clock more steps: Make the most of your lunch hour

 Run errands by foot: There’s always admin to do. Your break is a great time to run a group of errands – pay bills, go to the bank or pop into the shops. You’ll most likely take more steps than you think!

Gym over lunch: There’s nothing worse than having to wait in line to get a workout mat at the gym, but this is the reality for those of us who try to fit in a gym session after work. So, why not get your exercise during your lunch break? The gym won’t be too busy and you’ll put a dent in your step count.

Walk & Talk: Shake up your meetings by having them while going for a walk. You could make notes on your phone, and the act of walking could even stimulate your thinking in new, creative ways.

Make movement part of your daily life. Even if every small step doesn’t add numbers to a fancy tracker, it can add hours to your life. Get going!