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30 easy ways to get more steps each day

If you have a pedometer or fitness tracker, you probably know that experts recommend walking up to 10,000 steps a day.

If that number seems overwhelming at first, never fear! You can slowly work your way up to 10,000 steps over a few weeks or months, depending on your current fitness level. Simply aim to walk more steps than you walked yesterday or last week.

"Everyone can afford to add a few more steps into their day," says Lauren R. Jeffrey, ACSM EP-C, NASM PT, an exercise physiologist at Piedmont Atlanta Fitness Center. "A lot of people think that a one-hour workout justifies sitting the rest of the day. That is not the case. Sitting for long periods can increase the likelihood of blood clotting and cause back problems. Being active throughout the day is much better for the circulatory and muscular system and can also improve focus and productivity."

Try these tips to fit more steps into your day.

1.       Go for a walk while waiting to pick your child up from school, soccer practice, piano lessons, etc.

2.       Stay hydrated. Keep a small reusable water bottle at your desk and get up to refill it often throughout the day.

3.       Hide your phone and remote control so you have to get up each time you want to change the channel or send a text.

4.       Do your workout first thing in the morning so you don't skip it later in the day when your willpower is weaker. Plus, seeing those initial steps early in the morning will motivate you the rest of the day.

5.       March in place or pace around during a conference call or while chatting with a friend on the phone (hit the mute button first if it's a work call).

6.       Go for a walk on your lunch break with a coworker and after dinner each night with your family or a neighbor.

7.       Walk to another restroom in your office building instead of using the one that is closest to you.

8.       Set a reminder on your computer and walk a few flights of stairs in your building or home each hour.

9.       March in place or pace the room while waiting for your food to cook, brushing your teeth or watching TV.

10.   Park farther away than you usually do at the mall or grocery store.

11.   Walk a lap around the mall or grocery store before you start shopping.

12.   Propose a walking meeting at work instead of sitting in the conference room.

13.   Next time you're at a theater performance or sporting event, walk around at intermission or halftime instead of remaining in your seat.

14.   Walk your kids to school if you live close enough.

15.   If you only need a few items, walk to the grocery store instead of driving.

16.   Instead of meeting a friend for happy hour, go for a walk at the nearest park to catch up.

17.   Run errands during your lunch break instead of sitting at your desk.

18.   Instead of calling, walk to your coworker's desk or work area.

19.   Walk through your home each evening and tidy up any messes. Not only will you get more steps, you'll wake up to a less cluttered home.

20.   Get competitive: challenge a coworker or friend to see who can complete more steps in a week. The winner buys the other a healthy lunch!

21.   Adopt a dog. A furry friend will give you incentive to get outside and walk each day.

22.   Get off the bus or MARTA one stop sooner and walk the rest of the way.

23.   Next time you're early for a meeting or appointment, climb the stairs or walk laps around the building for a few minutes.

24.   Never take the elevator or escalator. 

25.   Set hourly walking reminders on your phone or computer.

26.   Take a dance class (Zumba, anyone?) or have a dance party with your kids.

27.   Skip the drive-thru at the bank, pharmacy or restaurant and walk inside instead.

28.   Mow the lawn, vacuum or clean your bathrooms.

29.   Walk on the treadmill or follow a walking workout video on YouTube if it's dark or unsafe to walk outside.

30.   Go pick up your lunch instead of ordering takeout.

Ready for more tips? Find out why walking is such good exercise and how to ramp up your walking workouts.

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