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Anyone who watches TODAY knows that Al Roker is all in when it comes to his walking routine.
He’s been documenting his walks with daily video check-ins in our Start TODAY Facebook group. Whether he’s walking the terminal before a flight, exploring a city by foot while traveling with his family or hitting Central Park in the early hours before work, he doesn’t let a day go by without lacing up his sneakers.
And his efforts have really added up: He has officially walked more than 10,000 steps a day for 210 days straight!
Inspired by his commitment? Wondering how in the world it’s possible? Here are Al's top tips for getting it done.
Change your vocabulary to change your mindset
Roker never uses the word "only" when referring to his fitness routine — and he wants you to ditch that mindset, too. “Stop using the word only. So many of you on our Facebook page were talking about, ‘Oh you only did this, you only did that,’” he said. “The fact is, you got it done, you made it happen, and that’s what counts.”
Take your walks on vacation with you
Traveling? Seeing a city on foot is seeing it in a whole new light, Roker said. He clocked in more than 30,000 steps in one day sightseeing in Paris last month.
Get it done early
When he can, Roker likes to get his walk done bright and early so he has one less thing to worry about fitting into his schedule during the day. “If you can do it, get it done (in the) morning; you feel so much better; you’ve checked that box off and you’re ready to tackle the day,” he said.
But while exercise is a priority for Roker, it doesn’t trump sleep. He listens to his body and when it tells him it needs rest, he takes it. “I was really tired this morning, so I slept in,” he said. “This afternoon, I had to have a talk with myself to get it in. And I got out there … Something is better than nothing!”
Find a support group
“It takes a village,” Roker said. “We all like a little encouragement.” He often shares advice from his walking coach Hiruni Wijayaratne and refers to his wife Deborah as his "wifecoach." Roker also checks in daily in the Start TODAY Facebook group, which he loves because of how “giving, sharing and honest” the members are. “There is strength in numbers,” he said. “I am amazed at the number of people on our Facebook page who are supporting each other. It’s really the power of the group.”
Get steps in whenever you can
While many people use a busy schedule or traveling as an excuse for not being able to workout, Roker always finds little ways to squeeze in steps. He is often seen walking the terminals at the airport while waiting for his flight. “Take your moments when you get them,” Roker said. “Find the opportunities where you can and take them when you do.”
Know that every day won’t be easy
Just because he is committed to his routine doesn’t mean it’s always easy to stick with it. Even Roker has days where he doesn’t feel like lacing up his sneakers. “I really had to have a talk with myself to get out,” he posted one day. “Pushed through 5 miles this morning.”
Play “I spy”
What sights can you spot during your walk? Roker takes time during his walks to soak in his surroundings — whether it be a river or pond, the sunrise, or the New York City skyline. This mindfulness tactic helps boost his mental health, combat stress and makes exercise more enjoyable.
Adopt the motto: "Something is better than nothing"
One day during our June walking challenge, Roker wasn’t feeling 100% after a colonoscopy.
“Today I’m just doing what I can — enough to get to my 10,000 steps. I had a colonoscopy a few hours ago and don’t want to overdo it. Just want to make sure I get in what I can,” he said. “I’m going to keep my 10,000 steps a day streak going, but I’m going to get to 10,000 and call it a day and get to bed early.”
One weekend, he opted for a leisurely stroll on a Sunday over his typical power walk.
Some days he pushes himself, others he listens to his body — this prevents him from burning out or feeling overwhelmed by his fitness routine.
“You don’t have to go crazy, just get some stuff done,” he said. “A little bit of something is better than nothing.”