Based on my Garmin Connect app, I have taken 12.900 steps a day during the past year. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, remote work has become the new normal for many of us in any knowledge-work. That’s why I started to feel that simple tips for nailing the famous 10.000 steps a day could be needed more than ever.
I built my habit of 10.000 daily steps based on a simple rule: always walk from home to the office. And whenever possible, walk from the office back to my place.
During the last month, I have needed to adapt. How to get to 10.000 steps a day without walking to the workplace? In this article, I will share my experience from last year and this extensive remote work period of the past weeks.
I will reveal the most crucial thing in hitting your daily steps goal already here. It applies to both remote workday and typical working days when you move from home to the office. Start early. An early start is the number one thing according to my personal experience. When you start your day by walking, you are more likely to walk even more throughout the day.
Mikko likes to take alternative routes. Here he is starting his day by walking through the backyard of his house in Alppiharju, Helsinki.
Reach Your Daily Steps Goal With These Three Rules
I assume you are already motivated to get your daily step count higher as you are reading this article. But if you still doubt the benefit of walking, I recommend you to read this recently published article by Harvard Health Publishing on the importance of walking for your health.
Before going into the details, let me make one thing clear. You should have a goal. And in this case, the goal setting is quite natural. You should have a step goal. I think this is the beauty of this general advice of “You should walk 10.000 steps a day”. It is easy to implement as your personal goal, and it works for most of us as a good guideline even though you can find evidence that the guidance itself is based on bad science.
I set these 10.000 daily steps as my goal in August 2018. After hitting the level of 10.000 steps on average for over a year, I set a new daily goal of 12.000 steps.
1. Start Early
The importance of this is quite easy to understand. The earlier you start, the sooner you will hit your daily goal of 10.000 steps. I usually get to the level of 4.000 steps in the morning when I walk the 2.8k from our home to the office in downtown Helsinki.
Now during the COVID-19 outbreak, I have been working mostly from home. I have tried to keep up the same average for steps with a morning walk around the neighborhood. I don’t get to 4.000 steps before starting work every day, but I keep track of this.
Mikko walking towards the office nearby Töölö Bay in Helsinki.
2. Track your steps
Tracking your steps is essential, and it is effortless. You don’t even need a smartwatch, fitness band, or pedometer to track your daily step count. Your phone can track how many steps you take.
Some may state that you can get addicted to tracking your steps, and it can hurt your overall wellbeing. It is possible, but not very likely. So you shouldn’t be using this as an excuse for not tracking your steps.
What is the actual trick behind tracking your steps? It is not the result. It is all about the awareness related to this very natural thing for your body – walking. By measuring, you can improve – both your daily step count and your curiosity towards making walking your priority.
Mikko approaching the office in Kamppi, downtown of Helsinki.
3. Make walking your priority
Last but not least. When walking becomes your priority, starting early and hitting your daily step goal becomes remarkably more comfortable. But you may not be able to make it your priority without paying attention to these other milestones first.
How is this priority visible in my daily life? As mentioned above. I try to walk to the office every day. I try to organize walking meetings with my colleagues regularly. I take walking breaks alone to organize my thoughts.
Have you been tracking your steps or making walking your priority? Or are you going to after reading this? I would love to hear your thoughts and tips in the comments!