6 Fitbit Hacks to Rack Up More Steps

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I derive great pleasure from seeing my name at the top of the workweek hustle or whatever other Fitbit challenge I'm participating in. According to Fitbit CEO James Park, Fitbit users with friends are 27% more active than those without. YES...what's the fun in owning a Fitbit if you can't show up your friends every now and again. So how do you get to the top of your Fitbit challenge? Here are 6 Fitbit hacks that I use to rack up the most steps.

1. START EARLY. Don't spend the whole day sitting at your desk hoping that you'll be able to get some steps in at the end of the day. You just might not feel like it. So get those steps in early. I make it part of my dTaily routine to park my car at least half a mile away from work and walk to the office. For me that means less congestion in the city center, I don't have to pay ridiculously expensive parking fees and I start the day with 1,000 extra steps. If you can dump your car and just walk to work every day, even better. You'll save on gas and pollution. Your pocketbook and your scale will thank you.

1/2 mile | 1,000 steps | 10-15 minutes

2. MAKE A 5K PART of YOUR DAY. In an earlier post, I talked about the fact that walking just 10,000 steps a day and watching what you eat will only help you maintain your current weight and not lose any weight. If you really want to step up your game and get to the top of the list, you should make a commitment to walk, run or jog a 5K, every day. A 5k is basically 3.1 miles and adds up to a little over 6,000 steps. You can split the 5k over the course of the day e.g. 2 miles on the treadmill in the morning + 1.1 mile walk in the evening. Making this commitment is really what will make the difference in the number of steps you take.

5km=3.1 miles | ~6,000 steps | 30-60 minutes

3. TAKE A BLOCK BREAK. Once we get to work, most of us tend to sit at our desk, on the computer for 90% of the day with the occasional trip to the bathroom or the breakroom. After reviewing this infographic on what happens to your body when you sit at your desk all day, I started taking "block breaks." I set my alarm to remind me to take a break every hour or so to get up from my desk, get out of the office and take a walk around the block. It usually takes me about 5 minutes to walk around the block. Not only does this break give me a physical boost, the fresh air and break from the computer screen give me a mental boost too.

1 block | ~ 700 steps | 5 minutes

4. ACE THE PACE. People tend to spend a crazy amount of time on their smart phones these days. Whether they are texting, tweeting or just plain talking that is valuable step time that you're wasting sitting on your butt. Next time you're on your smartphone, or work phone,  find a safe area to pace it and supercharge your step count. Just be sure to avoid walking into a wall because a trip to the ER can really put a dent in your step count!

5. CHANGE YOUR ROUTINE. There are lots of ways to increase your step count by minimal numbers that add up throughout the day like taking the stairs instead of the elevator (when no one is looking at work, I double-up on the stairs to double the steps), doing some extra chores, watching TV on your feet instead of your butt, walking the long way to your refrigerator, walking up and down the kitchen while you're waiting for your food to warm up in the microwave. Each time you change up your routines in this way, you may add 50, 100 or 500 steps to your step count.

6. PLAN YOUR DAY. Unless you're spending the day at Disneyland, walking for 10 hours straight, it takes some planning to up the number of steps you are taking. However many steps you want to take a day, you'll need to plan for how to get those steps in. 

ACTIVITY # OF STEPS CUMULATIVE TOTAL
Regular daily activities 4,000 steps 4,000 steps
Walk to and from office 2,000 steps 6,000 steps
2 miles on the treadmill in the morning 4,000 steps 10,000 steps
5 block breaks 3,500 steps 13,000 steps
1 mile walk with dog/friend after work 2,000 steps 15,000 steps

It goes without saying of course, that all of this can be done without a Fitbit. The point is to get healthy, lose weight, etc. Whatever it takes to motivate you. If it means slapping on your Fitbit and accepting that Workweek Hustle challenge to motivate you...go for it.

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