You know sitting's no good for your health, but there's not much you can do about your sedentary desk job. The whole 10,000-steps-a-day thing seems like a pretty lofty goal anyway, since that much walking amounts to traversing roughly 5 miles daily.
And for many Americans, it is a lofty goal: Back in 2010, research showed our average daily step count was more like 5,117. And today, experts estimate we're not getting all that many more. People who wear fitness trackers might have a leg up on the competition—data from over 10 million US Fitbit users show an average daily step count of 8,170—but even those activity-minded folks aren't always reaching the coveted 10K a day.
Despite all this news, it's easier than you might think to get there—even without breaking a sweat (although we definitely recommend doing that, too). You can build up slowly to 10,000 daily steps by breaking that goal into smaller pieces throughout the day, using some of these easy-peasy activities. Here's how to add more steps to your day, with step count estimates from Purdue University, and without exercising more. (Kick-start your new, healthy routine with Women's Health's 12-Week Total-Body Transformation!)
PARK FARTHER AWAY.
Stop fighting over those precious first-row spots and park your car in the farthest corner of the parking lot, whether it's at work, the kids' school, or the gym. Every extra minute of walking you do from your car door to that building's door is worth 84 steps.
TAKE THE STAIRS.
Each flight of stairs you add to your day is roughly the equivalent of taking 38 steps on flat ground. Work on the third floor? You can nab 152 steps bypassing the elevator when you arrive and when you head home for the day.
THROW A LIVING ROOM DANCE PARTY.
Put on your favorite song and boogie around the living room and you'll be about 400 steps up.
MOW OR RAKE THE LAWN.
At 120 steps per minute, 15 minutes of outdoor chores will help you rack up 1,800 steps.
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