Governments, health organizations and health experts are all promoting and urging people to lead more healthy and active lifestyles, in order to combat the growing and worrying problem of obesity, diabetes type II, high blood pressure, risks of stroke as well as risks of certain types of cancer, which are due to the sedentary lifestyles an unhealthy diets many people choose to live and eat today.
Walking is probably the easiest way to add some physical activity to your life without putting too much effort in it. Although we naturally use walking as a way to get from one point to another, this activity is often overlooked as an excellent form of exercise for losing weight, burning calories, getting fitter and improving your health.
No wonder so many people today are wearing fitness tracking bracelets and devices and are meticulously counting their steps. The 10,000 steps a day challenge has overtaken the world with its immense popularity due to the wide variety of physical and mental health benefits walking has. Walking also can count for the recommended 150 minute exercises which are recommended by health officials for every person per week.
On average, a person walks between 3,000-4,000 steps a day. The best way to track the number of steps you take, you can use a pedometer, an app on your smartphone or smart device or one of those fitness tracking devices which are so popular today. You should find out how much you walk a day in order to set your goals for the future.
Your goal for the number of steps you should take every day of course depends entirely on you. Keep in mind that a 45 year old person who weighs about 11 stone can burn about 400 calories by walking briskly 10,000 steps. If your goal is to lose weight, you should calculate the calories you want to burn and of course lower the intake of calories in order to be able to shed those pounds with walking and a sensible diet.
If you lead a sedentary life and you have decided to start walking more, you should probably start with smaller distances, and then gradually increase them as your joints, muscles and body gets stronger and as you get leaner and fitter.
If you are wondering how to fit in all that extra walking in the busy schedule you already have, don’t worry – incorporating more walking in your daily program is actually much easier than it sounds. Here are some ideas on adding more walking to your daily schedule:
- Leave the car at home and walk to work. If it is physically possible, you can ditch the car in your driveway and walk to work instead. This will help you make more steps, exercise, burn calories and also save money for gas. If your workplace is too far away for walking, you can still leave the car and take the bus, but get off it early and walk the rest of the way to work by foot. If you need to take the car to go to work, then you can make sure you keep a pair of comfortable walking shoes in it, so that you can go a little earlier and take a short walk around before or after work.
- Take your dog to long walks in the nearby park or around the block. If you don’t have a dog – now is the perfect time to get one or even better – adopt one. This will keep you motivated to go out for walks with your puppy rain or shine. You will have a new best friend and you will also quickly get in good shape once you go for 2 long walks every day.
- Skip the elevator and take the stairs instead. If you need to get on an escalator – don’t just stand on it but walk up or down. This will drastically increase the number of steps you make per day.
- Take the kids to school without a car. Again, if it is possible, walk your kids to school every day. This will help both you and them to perform more physical activities and stay healthy and fit. Also, when you go to one of your child’s sport or other activities, don’t just sit there on the bench and wait for it to finish, but walk around the gym, field or other area where the activity is being held.
- Park your car in a central location once when running errands. Choose a central location and park your car when you go out to the store, to the cleaners or to your hair dresser. Walk from one place to the other, or if you have baggage, come back to the car and leave it and then walk to the next place. This strategy will definitely keep you walking, and will also save you money for fuel too.
- Incorporate walks at work too. Use your lunchbreak to take a brisk walk around, or ask your colleagues or bosses to hold walking meetings instead of sitting for hours in the conference room.
- Invest in wearable fitness tracking device. This will definitely make you much more motivated to increase the number of steps you make per day and tracking your performance and improvement will be a very satisfying experience too! Also, you can organize a walking competition with colleagues, family or friends, and even pick out some fun awards for the person who has walked the most steps for a given time! Competitions are always fun, and winning is even better!
- Join a walking group. Do some research to find a local walking group, or organize one yourself. Invite your friends, neighbors, your family members or other people to join you. This will make walking more fun and will increase and improve your social interactions. Also, when you are walking with other people you are more likely to show up for the walk, because you will know that they are waiting and counting on you!
- Change your walking routes periodically. Walking the same route for your commute or to run your daily chores can become boring pretty quickly. In order to stay motivated and interested in completing your walking goals, make sure to explore and plan new routes periodically.
- Set a family habit of going for walks every weekend. Choose a nearby park, or a new trail further away to take your entire family outside to enjoy some healthy walking in the outdoors and to spend more family time while staying active. There are so many places which you and your children will most probably enjoy visiting – why not plan your next walk there?
When you get into the habit of walking more, you will start feeling the benefits of this extra physical activity. You will lose any extra weight you have, your health and your mood, as well as your self-esteem will improve, and you will get accustomed to following such a regimen, so soon you won’t need to force yourself to go outside for your next walk. It will all come naturally to you! Put those comfortable walking shoes on and start walking today – it will change your life!