Tips & Tricks: Minimize Efficiency, Maximize Step Count

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  1. Park out in the back forty, but do it on purpose

Most people consider scoring a close parking spot something worth celebrating. I consider finding a spot at the back of the parking lot – preferably away from other cars – a win. I even like to park in a different parking lot whenever I can. For instance, today I parked in front of a different building on my work campus and walked over to my building. For me, there’s nothing better than a morning walk before having to sit inside at a desk for hours on end.

  1. Take the shopping cart back into the store

Don’t just use those convenient little cart corrals. Walk from your spot (in the back of the parking lot) back to the store and put it where it belongs. You’ll get extra steps and brownie points from the poor employees who have to traipse all over the parking lot gathering them up.

  1. Multiple trips

Seeing as I’m a woman, I was born with the ability to get all of my groceries in the house in one trip, no matter how much I bought. It goes against all of my instincts to not just load up my arms and go, but the multiple trips in and out of the house gets me some needed extra steps. Act like a man; one bag at a time.

  1. Don’t use the nearest bathroom

I’ve been informed that this might be a luxury only someone like me (i.e. young, never had children, etc) can afford but I figured I’d put it here anyway. If you can, don’t use the bathroom that’s closest. Most likely there’s another one around somewhere…go find it. The bathroom closest to me is 43 steps from my desk. The next one is 80. Don’t ask me why I know this, I just do.

  1. Pee break = lap around office

After I’ve wandered to the farthest bathroom and finished my business, I like to make a lap around the office floor. I’m lucky enough to work in a fairly large building, so it’s a decent amount of steps. Especially considering I drink at least 4 liters of water while I’m at work, so I’m constantly making these trips. Bonus: it lets me step away from work for a few minutes.

  1. Hour lunch break? 30 minutes for eating, 30 for walking

It doesn’t take you an hour to eat lunch, stop kidding yourself. Eat your lunch, then get walking. Walk around the building, walk around outside, walk to your car parked in a distant parking lot for no other reason than to say you did it. Just move.

  1. Make conference calls the playlist for your walk

You know…you don’t HAVE to sit at your desk staring at the cubicle wall while listening in on a conference call. Shocking, right? Plug in your earbuds and listen while you’re going for a nice little stroll. Multitasking at its most productive.

  1. Link your computer to a printer at the other end of the building

There’s a printer 3 aisles down from my desk. I never use it. I took the time to connect my computer to a printer at the other end and side of the building. I don’t print things frequently, but when I do at least I’m going on a little journey to get it.

  1. Use other’s unhealthy habits to encourage your healthy ones

Both my supervisor and manager are pretty heavy smokers. Whenever they go for a smoke, I go for a walk. My theory is that if people are allowed smoke breaks (you know, time away from work to do something TERRIBLE FOR YOUR HEALTH) then I sure as shit should get time away from work to do something good for myself.

  1. Walk to the mailbox

I never get my mail before I pull into my driveway. I always park my car, take my things inside (using two trips), then head back out to go get the mail. My driveway isn’t very long, in all honesty, but it’s still more steps than I would get if I got the mail from my car. A bunch of small habits can lead to big results.