How to Change Your Work Routine to Walk 10,000 Steps a Day

Published: May 30, 2017

 Workplace Issues       
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Since sitting is the new smoking and walking is the new running, scores of people are trying to figure out how to sit less and walk more. In fact, many are aiming for 10,000 steps (about five miles) a day. Which, of course, is no easy task if you're chained to a desk, computer, and chair most of your waking hours. However, with just a few, simple alterations to your work schedule, you can be up and on your feet, moving a lot more than you are now, while still getting the job done—and, perhaps, getting it done even better than before.

Here are three ways to change up your work routine to get a lot more mileage on your feet.

1. Lengthen your commute.

Many people love to brag about how short of a commute they have to work, but if you want to live a longer life, maybe it makes more sense to start bragging about a longer commute. In any case, don't worry: making your commute longer doesn't mean moving further away from your place of work; it just means changing how you get to work each day. For example, if you live and work in a city like New York, San Francisco, or Chicago where you commute via public transportation, an easy way to take more steps each day is to get off at a bus or train stop two or three stops further away from your office than you do now. This will force you to walk several more blocks than you currenly are. Of course, this also requires that you give yourself more time in the morning before work, which likely means getting to bed earlier. However, there's an added benefit of walking in the morning: increased creativity at work. In fact, a recent Stanford study found that walking can boost your creativity by 60 percent. As for the end of your day, lengthening your commute gives you time to clear your head—of your day at work. This allows you to move on to the next part of your day with a more open, receptive, creative mind.

2. Make your meetings mobile.

What if instead of sitting in a dark conference room for an hour brainstorming the latest redesign, you could be outside walking in the sunshine while generating ideas? Although it might sound a little odd and awkward to hold meetings on-the-go, I'm betting if you make walking meetings a routine you'll find that your meetings are not only healthier but also more enjoyable and more productive (due to the likelihood that walking will improve your creativity). The drawback to mobile meetings, aside from being a little difficult to organize at first, is that they work best with just a few people: three or four walkers max. Any group larger than that and it'll be difficult to stay together and get good work done while navigating pedestrian traffic and crosswalks.

3. Take far away breaks.

Like lengthening your commute, you can easily take coffee and lunch breaks further away from your office than you normally do to get in more walking each day. On the downside, this might lessen the time you have to eat (and might involve some planning ahead like ordering takeout before you head out). However, it'll widen your restaurant and cafe options and, more important, greatly improve the health benefits of your breaks. You'll be working your body and working your mind, and you could also be literally working as you walk—if you really want to maximize the productivity of your breaks, schedule a mobile meeting on the way to and perhaps from your break spot. In any case, the point is if you're able to fit them into your schedule, take longer walks at work than you do now.

Finally, it should be pointed out that right there on your phone (pull out your smartphone and look for the "Health" app) you have the ability to track how much you're walking each day. That is, it's very easy to keep track of how many steps you're taking and when you're taking them. And so, you can easily alter your routine accordingly. Which means if you're not taking enough steps, then add some distance here or there. Or perhaps add another mobile meeting or two. Speaking of which, if you need more convincing of the power of the walking meeting, take a look at the below TED Talk. But beware: after watching it, you might never be able to sit, let alone sit and meet, again.

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