Step into September!
Walking or a workout in disguise?
Walking and moving around is something that we do every day without a second thought! But did you know that a few extra steps each day can have a fantastic impact on your health and wellbeing?
Various studies have found that achieving 10,000 steps a day can better your health, improve cardio fitness and reduce the risk of health complications such as heart disease and diabetes.
Ten thousand steps are used by researchers worldwide as a reasonable estimate of daily activity by healthy adults. In Australia, according to the Australian Physical Activity survey, the average adult accumulates around 7,400 steps each day (ABS, 2019).
So, first things first, how do you know how many steps do you do a day? One way to check your step count is to track your daily steps using digital movement trackers!
Tracking your steps
The great news is there are a bunch of easy-to-use digital step tracker options that can help you count your daily steps.
- Mobile phone apps - most mobile phones today have a 'health' data and activity app whereby they count your steps automatically. There are also a number of additional pedometer style apps that can be downloaded such as Pacer, Fitbit, GoogleFit, Charity Miles and more.
- Wearable movement trackers - wearable tracker technology such as Fitbits or smartwatches, are a great reliable option for tracking your activity. You can wear on your wrist to help track your steps.
If you don't have access to technology, Australia's Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines recommend that adults should accumulate at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days of the week. You can also follow these guidelines to ensure you keep up with your fitness too!
Getting in some extra steps
What can you do to increase your step count?
The great news is you can increase your steps with nearly any type of cardiovascular exercise or through daily incidental exercise activities!
Cardiovascular exercises include any movement that increases your heart rate and improves your body’s oxygen flow. Lower impact or intensity cardio typically includes activities, such as walking, cycling, swimming or rowing. Higher impact cardio that you can do to get your steps up could include activities such as running or skipping.
Incidental exercise can also increase your step count. Incidental exercise includes any daily activities that get you moving. Everyday tasks such as cleaning, scrubbing, vacuuming and mopping, gardening and completing daily chores are a great start.
Other fun activities that will get your step count up might also be dancing or playing some games like backyard basketball or tiggy! Each of these activities can help increase your step count. However, it is suggested that these activities are combined with some forms of intentional exercise routines to get the best health benefits possible.
Setting bigger step goals
Already getting your 10,000 steps a day and are looking to go above and beyond? Check out some tips to progress your current step routine and get even more steps into your daily count:
- Extend your time exercising – For instance, if you walk, run or swim for 30 minutes each day try adding 10-15 minutes to your session the next week, increasing the time you exercise to 40 or 45 minutes.
- Progressing from walking to jogging or running – try adding five-minute jogs intervals throughout to your daily walk. Some great apps for tracking running include Nike Run Club, Strava and more.
- Add in more incidental exercise activities - take the stairs instead of the lift, walk to the shop instead of driving and do your household tasks more frequently.
Tips to remember
- Any type of cardiovascular (cardio) exercise, including incidental exercise, can help get your steps up!
- Fun non-exercise related; incidental activities can also contribute to your daily step count!
- Track your progress – Track your progression through your apps or on a calendar each week.
- Celebrate your progression – Give yourself a massive pat on the back when you reach your step goals!
- Set some progressive goals – once you've reached your 10,000 goals, set your next goal!