How to increase your step count at home and at work

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24 January 2021

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Even just a few minutes of walking each day can be beneficial to your health. Here are some simple things you can do to sneak more steps into your day.

How to move more at home

  • Instead of hopping in the car, walk or cycle short distances when you can. Author Peter Walker says walking briskly will “take it into the realm of so-called moderate exertion, thus multiplying the health benefits”.
  • Go for a walk and listen to a podcast or audiobook rather than sitting down to read a book or watch TV in the evening.
  • Try to incorporate movement into your daily life – even housework or mowing the lawns counts.
  • Pick up a sport. “Increasing your engagement in structured physical activity (joining a gym, tennis club, making a conscious effort to walk/jog every other day) will have many health benefits,” says exercise sciences lecturer Rebecca Meiring.
  • Set exercise goals and reward yourself when you complete your goal, suggests physiotherapist Mark Quinn. He also advises teaming up with someone. “Find something that you enjoy and buddy up with someone of the same level who can encourage you to go out on those days that you are not feeling like it.”

How to move more at work

  • Purchase a sit-stand desk or a desk converter. You should ideally alternate between sitting and standing and make sure you have the correct desk set-up.
  • If you don’t use a standing desk, make sure you get out of your chair every hour, says Mark. “Use technology to remind you – set an alarm on your phone, use a smartwatch that makes you get a wriggle on or software that you can install on your computer, eg. workrave.org.”
  • Instead of sending an email to a colleague, walk over and talk to them if you’re both in the office. Try walking or standing meetings and phone calls, and read documents standing up.
  • Add more movement into your commute. “Try and park a bit further from the train station or walk to a further bus stop,” suggests Rebecca.
  • You can also “seek out stairs rather than always going for the elevator”, says Peter.

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