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14 Easy Ways to Walk More Than 10,000 Steps Each Day

Soon, you’ll be meeting that 10,000-step goal on your fitness tracker every day.

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The Meet-You-There Walk

Instead of driving with your spouse to the market or some other nearby destination, leave a bit early on foot and meet him there, then catch a ride back home. If you normally walk a three-mile loop in the neighborhood, draw a circle on a map extending that far out in all directions from your home. This is your sphere of possibility (and it’ll grow larger as you get fitter).

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The Errand Walk

Instead of walking to get in shape, once or twice a week, walk to get things done. The bank, the supermarket, the post office, the nail salon. This is healthy, stress-free multitasking at its best. You’ll need something to carry your stuff, so get a backpack, or buy a chic and eco-friendly market basket.

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The Reverse Walk

We are creatures of habit. Break yours by occasionally walking your normal route in the other direction. It not only beats boredom, but it’ll wake you up to the world around you by helping you see things from fresh angles. Go left instead of right when you take your first step. Make a point to notice three things you never observed from the opposite direction.

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The Boss Walk

When it’s time for your next one-on-one with your boss, suggest something that will get your supervisor’s attention. Instead of sitting in her office where you may feel intimidated and she may be distracted by incoming emails, suggest that the two of you go for a walk.

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The Rainy Day Walk

At the first sign of drizzle, many people go into hibernation. But there’s something about walking in the rain that is simultaneously calming and exhilarating. Leave the umbrella in the closet. Instead, pull on some rain boots or waterproof shoes and a big slicker with a hood. Occasionally turn to the sky to catch a few raindrops on your tongue.

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The I’m-So-Mad Walk

When something is making you angry, hit the road instead of the wall. You’ll not only get a great physical workout because the adrenaline will make you walk faster, but you’ll also burn off some of the stress hormones coursing through your body.

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The Better-Marriage Walk

Worried that you and your spouse don’t really talk anymore? Walking together can help. Exercise makes us more open, emotional, and honest, plus it guarantees full attention (no TV or computers). Keep it low-key to start. Talk about things you notice along the way, interesting items in the news, etc. Then once he’s warmed up, broach the more serious stuff.

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The Virtual Walk

Studies show that you can actually get muscle fibers to fire by imagining yourself performing an activity. It’s the same technique that basketball players use to mentally rehearse foul shots. On days when you’re too busy to escape a walk, at least spend a few quiet minutes with your eyes closed envisioning yourself striding strongly and purposefully. It will help you develop muscle memory that’ll make you more efficient when you do get out for a walk.

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The Mini-Walk

If your day is too packed for your typical 45-minute walk, then take three separate 15-minute strolls. You’ll derive just as much health benefit, plus you’ll keep your metabolism cranking throughout the day so you burn more calories.

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The Figure-It-Out Walk

There’s something about putting one foot in front of the other that focuses the mind and brings clarity. A problem that might have overwhelmed you originally or one that appeared to have no clear solution will often solve itself during a walk. Don’t dwell on the problem. Instead, think about it to start, and then let it go. Your subconscious will keep working on it, and before long, a solution will appear. Magical.

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The Spiritual Walk

Spiritual contemplation doesn’t have to take place in a church or temple. This weekend, take a walk in the big cathedral that’s all around you-the one too many of us overlook. Think about what you’re thankful for, or make the time holy by dedicating it to a loved one or someone who’s struggling.

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The Going-Nowhere-Fast Walk

For those days when the weather is bleak, head to the gym or your spare bedroom for a treadmill walk. To avoid boredom, get a large-scale map of your state or some exotic country. Then after each workout, highlight the distance you’ve covered across it.

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The Park and Walk

Live too far from work to commute by foot? Then occasionally drive until you’re a mile away, park, and walk the rest. You’ll get your exercise almost without realizing it, save gas, and build a stress-easing buffer around your workday.

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The Best-Sleep Walk

Many workers are chronically sleep deprived. In fact, because of things like stress and caffeine, many of us have become incapable of getting the restful zzz’s we need. Walking is one of the best ways to relax and usher in a good night’s sleep. Schedule a stroll between 4 and 7 p.m. Your body temperature is highest then, your muscles are warmest, and you’ll have plenty to mull over from the day. The resulting calm will help you drift off at bedtime.

Originally Published in Reader's Digest