While staying home the past five months has been vital in order to decrease the spread of COVID-19, it has certainly made getting the suggested amount of walking a struggle. Which begs the question: how many steps should you be taking during quarantine, anyway?
"I recommend healthy adults take anywhere between 4,000 to 18,000 steps per day," Dr. Pat Carroll MD, Chief Medical Officer for wellness brand Hims & Hers, tells TZR. "With that said, 10,000 steps is an ideal and reasonable target. 10,000 steps averages out to be around five miles." The number of steps you take daily is strongly correlated with your overall health, says Dr. Nate Favini MD, Medical Lead of healthcare provider Forward. "People who take more steps have lower rates of chronic illnesses and even live longer on average than people who take fewer steps," the doctor notes. "One study of women in particular suggested that mortality rates rapidly decrease as more steps are accrued, up to 7,500 steps per day." Additionally, CJ Hammond, XPS Certified Trainer with wellness brand RSP Nutrition notes that walking can improve posture and cardiovascular endurance.
Alternatively, if you don't get in the recommended amount of steps, it could impact your health longterm. "Not prioritizing activity or not reaching your recommended number of steps can make you more likely to experience diabetes, heart disease, elevated blood pressure, and depression," Dr. Favini says. "People with fewer steps even have higher mortality rates compared to more active people."
To help you reach your goal, TZR tapped health and fitness experts on some walking routines to try out. Below, find seven ideas that you can do at home and around the neighborhood.
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Walking Routine: Walk Around During A Work Call
Hammond recommends walking around while taking a work call, instead of sitting at your desk. And if you're on a conference call just listening rather than participating, consider taking the call to go and walking around your neighborhood.
Walking Routine: Treadmill Desk
Double task by opting for a treadmill desk. Dr. Favini says this will allow you to walk, no matter the type of work you're doing.
Walking Routine: Walk The Dog
Consider breaking up your walks throughout the day. "What I like to do is after I complete a large task each day, I’ll go for a ten-minute walk with my dog to get some air and clear my head," Keegan Draper, Mindbody Fitness Expert & NASM CPT, tells TZR. "You don’t have to get all your steps in at once. If it makes more sense to take more frequent, but shorter walks, go for it!" Draper says just like other forms of exercise, one large block of time isn't the only way to get your activity in.
Walking Routine: Get Creative Indoors
If you're quarantining in a tiny space, clear some room to get your steps in. "Give yourself a space cleared, like a yoga mat type space, and create some type of back and forth [movement], like a shuttle run you do training for sports," Karli Alvino, RRCA, VDOT02, and certified Run Coach at Mile High Run Club in New York City, tells TZR. "Every time you walk one side, you can do an exercise like squats, and then when you walk back to the other side you could do some push-ups." She says doing this will make things more stimulating while getting a total body workout out of it, and by going to each station you're getting your steps in.
Walking Routine: Virtual Walk Race
Make walking fun by getting a little competitive. "Consider doing a virtual walk race," Dr. Alexis C Colvin, MD, Orthopedics & Orthopedic Surgery at Mount Sinai, tells TZR. "Having a goal and other people to hold you accountable can be a good motivator." Sign up for a challenge online, for instance on Race At Your Own Pace.
Walking Routine: Interval Walking
If you get bored walking at the same pace, try switching it up. "Do an interval based [walk], where you speed walk for two minutes, easy walk one minute, doing ten rounds each at the same capacity a couple times a week," Alvino suggests. "That would be more geared toward boosting your metabolism, weight loss, and helping in a cardio regimen towards a running goal."
Walking Routine: Challenge Yourself
"Find a hilly area, and walk there to give yourself a different challenge," Christina Penny, DPT, OMPT, a physical therapist with Greater Baltimore Medical Center, tells TZR.