“How do you get so many fitbit steps?”
It’s a question I get almost every week from fellow fitbit users. I’m not going to lie — it’s work getting 20,000 steps (9 miles) almost every day, but there are few simple things you can do to help yourself succeed.
First — Set a goal. Make it realistic for you — it took me almost a year to work up to 20,000 steps a day. At first I could only do several thousand. My first month walking 10,000 steps a day was a very challenging goal for me. I increased my daily steps at a reasonable pace each week to prevent injury. It isn’t a race, it’s a journey! Make sure to enjoy it! An increase of 10% a week should let your body adjust and gain strength at a reasonable rate.
Second — Make a plan. I like to have a chart on my fridge that tracks my steps by the hour. That way I can stay on track. If it gets to the end of the day and I have too far to go, I will just give up. My goal right now is to walk roughly 15 minutes every hour. That translates into 1,500 steps per hour give or take.
I love crossing off each hour as I progress — it’s motivating as well as rewarding, so I use a plastic sleeve and dry erase markers so that I can reuse the chart. As you plan your day, it’s important to know if you will have large chunks of down time and try to get ahead of those if possible. For example, if I know I’m going to be sitting in a chair teaching piano for three hours in a row, I’ll try to finish those steps before I even begin teaching. That way I don’t have to catch up at the end of the day.
Third — Find a place. You may laugh, but most of my miles are logged around my kitchen/living room area. I have a circle that I walk. My family call it ‘The Path’ and everyone knows to stay out of The Path or you get in serious trouble. You can see that we move the furniture around so that nothing impedes my progress around the path. We move it back when company comes, but by now most of our friends know exactly why it’s out of the way and I walk the path while we talk too.
I have a treadmill and I use it sometimes, I just find walking in the kitchen easier to keep my life moving forward while I get my steps in — I can wash some dishes, do a few laps, get a drink for the kids, make a quick snack, get a few more laps, you get the idea.
Fourth — Find Entertainment. Sometimes I use my ipad to read, watch tv or catch up on social media.
I like to play a game that my family and I made up called ‘Odds’. You walk The Path as quickly as you can. When the oven on the clock has an odd number at the end, you have to run up the stairs to the second floor as fast as you can. This keeps my heart rate up and the kids love to try to beat me. I’m also meeting my flights of stairs goal for the day too!
Talking on the phone is a great way to get your steps in for the day. Most of my family live far away, so I spend many hours on the phone with them. The treadmill is just too noisy to use on the phone, so I walk The Path.
I like to make all those pesky customer service phone calls while walking The Path too — it’s multi-tasking at it’s best! I get all the billing questions cleared up and get my fitbit steps in at the same time! Last August I refinanced our house while walking the path. The conversations took several hours. During one phone call, the representative asked if my washer was on the fritz. I laughed and told him I was walking back and forth from carpet to tile flooring and that it was my squeaky shoes he could hear.
Fifth — Take Breaks. This sounds a little counter-intuitive, but without breaks, I just couldn’t walk 20,000 steps, or roughly 9 miles a day without causing injury. I have plantar fascia and tarsal tunnel. This causes great pain if I don’t elevate my feet periodically. No problem, I keep a blue cup with cold water on the counter at all times and I rest once in a while for at least 10 minutes and drink my water at the same time. Elevating my legs helps the fluid drain from my feet and lets my body relax so that I can go walk again. I always try to accomplish my ‘sit down’ tasks during that time, so that when I’m ready to walk again I don’t feel like I have something looming over my head.
Sixth — Recognize Achievement. At the end of every day, when you sync your fitbit, enjoy the moment. Watch those little smiley faces and celebrate your “Hooray!” I can’t lie, I often make my family come and shout with the green smileys when I have a really good day. It makes me feel good, and they see that I have reached my goals. It’s a great endorphin rush and helps me to be motivated to get my fitbit steps in the next morning when I wake up.
Hopefully these ideas will help you as you try to work on your daily fitbit step goals — I’d love to hear any other suggestions you may have too!
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