We’re always looking to increase our step count — because every step counts. As life gets more and more hectic toward the end of the year with the countdown to the holidays, we have to get smarter about our time and energy — all while getting in those steps. Here are 51 easy ways to increase your walking (almost) without knowing it.
1. Plan walking meetings.
2. Walk one way to your destination and take a bus, cab or Uber home.
3. Make your next coffee date close to a park, and walk with your drinks. Bonus: fresh air.
4. Park the car a few blocks away from where you drop off your kids at school, then walk with them. Bonus: They get a walk, too.
5. Play “I spy” while walking with your kids.
6. Organize a scavenger hunt.
7. Walk to work.
8. Park your car a few blocks or parking garages away from your workplace.
9. Get off one stop earlier on the bus or subway.
10. Choose one meal a day and walk for 10 minutes after it. Bonus: Walking after eating regulates blood sugar and helps weight loss.
11. Shop more often for groceries. Bonus: fresher food.
12. Walk to the grocery store. You can only buy what you need and you have to carry it home.
13. Walk around the farmers market once before going to your usual vendors.
14. Organize a walking group. You’ll spend time with friends without food and drink.
15. Choose a favorite song and count how many steps it takes to walk the duration of that song. It almost feels like dancing.
READ MORE > THE 7-DAY WALKING PLAN
16. Go sightseeing in your home town.
17. Make your book club an audiobook club and read the books while walking. Start with Katy Bowman’s “Move Your DNA” which has miles per chapter listed at the beginning of each section.
18. Forage for wild food outdoors. There are a lot of edible plants if you do your research. Just think: You’re getting free nutrients straight from Mother Nature.
19. Volunteer at a local farm or community garden.
20. Volunteer to help with child care in your local church, synagogue, mosque or other community center.
21. Help your city or beach clean up. Bonus: good trash karma.
22. Walk your dog. You’ll have a happy and healthy dog and meet fellow dog lovers in your area.
23. Take a cooking class.
24. Try a walking meditation instead of sitting for a clear mind and slower-paced life.
25. Sign up for a 10K and plan to walk it.
26. Map a regular walk you take, then get creative and find a new route.
27. Park far from your gym and use walking as your warmup and cooldown.
28. Walk your kids to the playground.
29. Walk around the track while your kids play sports.
30. Walk to breakfast, lunch or dinner.
31. Bike one way to your destination and walk your bike the other way.
32. Walk in the terminal before a flight.
33. Walk while waiting for your bags at baggage claim.
34. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
35. Have your morning coffee or tea while walking. Bonus: This habit helps your circadian rhythm.
36. Play Frisbee golf. Walk between the goals.
37. Go golfing and ditch the golf cart.
38. Have you tried geocaching? Walk to search for and gather objects. Bonus: It’s a fun game.
39. Paint inspirational rocks (check out the Kindness Rocks Project) and walk around your local hiking trails and parks to place them. Bonus: You’ll brighten your community.
40. Remember how far you walked to school as a kid? Trace that distance and see how long it takes you now.
41. Plug in your phone to charge in the farthest room in the house. Walk back and forth to check messages and make calls. Bonus: You’ll have fewer distractions.
42. Plant your own vegetable garden. Reap the benefits of amazing tasting fresh food.
43. Swap your leaf-blower for a rake and broom. There will be less pollution and more whole-body movement.
44. Give the housekeeper a vacation and do your own vacuuming, mopping and dusting.
45. Volunteer at a pet rescue or animal shelter — lots of dogs need walking and your love.
46. Pull your kids in a sled or wagon.
47. Forage for holiday decorations. Step into nature to find leaves, pine cones, acorns, chestnuts and use your supplies to make a wreath.
48. Go bowling — steps add up.
49. Return your missed calls while walking, preferably outside to take advantage of the natural light and fresh air.
50. Start a walking challenge at work. You’ll get to know your colleagues and support each other.