9 Walking Hacks to Add Steps and Lose Weight

POPSUGAR Photography | Kat Borchart
POPSUGAR Photography | Kat Borchart

One good action begets another, and something as simple as added movement can have profound effects on your weight, your health, and your life.

We saw this first-hand when we talked with a woman who lost 100 pounds and 10 dress sizes started with walking. Again, we heard this from celebrity trainer Harley Pasternak, whose top weight-loss tip was getting 10K steps each day.

Walking is also part of LISS cardio, which stands for low-intensity sustained state — one of the most effective ways to burn fat! Your improved cardiovascular health will serve as an endurance booster, meaning you will soon be able to take on more challenging workouts, furthering your weight-loss progress.

If you're looking for simple ways to add more steps into your day, we've compiled some hacks for you. Check it out:

  1. Walk the block. This tip came from Harley, who tells all of his clients the same thing: "Every morning before you leave your home, walk around the block once." The same thing goes for when you get home at night. "That's twice a day, Monday through Friday, 10 times a week . . . that's 520 times a year, and if five of those is one mile, then you've done 100 extra miles of physical activity a year with one small change."
  2. Get coffee somewhere else. Try this out: instead of getting coffee from the office kitchen, try grabbing your daily cup from a coffee shop . . . and not the closest one! Pick the next shop over, the one that's just a bit farther away. Pressed for time? Starbucks offers a preorder feature on the app, and in some cities you can use the Order Ahead app for several coffee shops and cafes. That way, you can use the time you would be spending standing in line — you guessed it — walking!
  3. Challenge your friends. Do you have a fitness tracker? Certain trackers like Fitbit have apps that allow you to create a "challenge" between you and a friend, family member, or co-worker. Let the competitive side of you come out, and see who can get the most steps.
  4. Skip the Uber. Wearing comfortable shoes? Avoid traffic and add in some activity by walking to the store, work, or your social activities. Harley recommended walking to happy hour after work with friends to ensure that no one is drinking and driving — and to get those extra steps in.
  5. Make it a social activity. When you're making weekend plans with friends, try going for a walk. The fresh air, sunshine, and quiet quality time will be refreshing, and you'll both get some much-needed movement in — especially if you sit at a desk all day for work.
  6. Take the stairs. It can be so tempting to take the escalator or elevator, but whenever you can, opt for stairs. Like we said, one positive change begets another, and any extra movement counts.
  7. Stand up once an hour. It can be so easy to sit down to watch TV or movies, or be at your desk, and forget to get up at all; you look at the clock and realize, "Whoa, I've been sitting for four hours!" Make it a habit to get up once each hour and move your legs. I like to drink extra water to make sure I have to get up to go to the bathroom; you can also set your fitness tracker to remind you to move hourly! If you're in an office, try walking over to talk to someone instead of emailing or chatting them. It seems small, but it adds up.
  8. Park farther away. Do you drive to work? Park in the back of the parking lot — you'll get extra walking in before and after work. The public transportation version: get off one or two stops early. This can be applied to anything beyond work, including the grocery store or pharmacy, a friend or family member's house, or even your gym.
  9. Walk on the treadmill. Got a gym membership? Don't be intimidated by the cardio machines. Walking on the treadmill can actually burn lots of calories. Once you've built a little endurance, try this 20-minute walking treadmill hike for beginners (you won't go over 4 mph, don't worry!).