Walking isn’t usually where people think to begin a health journey. They think they need to spend hours every day in the gym to become healthy. While I am an advocate of lifting weights at the gym, it isn’t the only way to achieve results.
Walking is an exceptional and often underrated form of exercise. It’s not as intimidating as walking into a gym full of meatheads and it can easily fit into your schedule as you can do it anywhere.
The stats on walking
It’s estimated that the average American takes 3,000-4,000 steps a day while the ideal number of steps is 7,000-10,000 for general health.
If you don’t have a smartwatch that tracks your steps you might want to consider investing in one. Before I got one I thought that I got 10,000 steps easy. Considering how much up and down there is as a stay-at-home mom this was a reasonable assumption.
Well, it turns out I was an average American taking about 4-5k steps a day. Now I make sure to get up and run around with the kids as well as take a 30-60 minute walk depending on the day!
Why are more steps ideal for better health?
Taking roughly 3,500 steps a day is considered sedentary in the medical community. The closer we get to the ideal number of steps the more we reap the benefit of all that walking.
- increased blood flow
- muscle strength
- better body composition
- reduced joint stiffness
- increased range of motion
- better mood
- improved sleep
- prevention or improvement from obesity, osteoperosis, and memory loss with age
As you can see, walking is a powerful low impact exercise that almost anyone and everyone can do!
How to get more steps when you can’t go walking
The best way to get more steps in is to go for a 30-60 minute walk. That’s not always possible though so let’s see what some tricks are for increasing those steps.
- Park at the back of parking lots
- Walk the entire store once or twice before actually shopping
- Walk when you get together with friends
- Take the stairs
- Play with your kids
- Dance with your kids or your spouse
- Every 45-60 minutes get up from your desk to do something active
- Parking down the street from work to walk the rest of the way
How to up the intensity with walking
- Walk up hills
- Wear ankle or wrist weights
- Walk at a brisk pace for 30-60 minutes
- Walk up and down your local high school bleachers
- Pick a target (like a telephone pole 100 yards away) and walk as fast as you can to the target break for a minute and then go again the length of your walk
- Go for a hike. Walking in nature is proven to improve your mood even more than in urban settings
Other tips to make walking more productive
You may feel that you’re too busy to walk with your never-ending to-do list. Try these tips out if you don’t want to feel like you wasted your time “just walking”.
- Instead of listening to music listen to a podcast or an audiobook.
- Call your mom or catch up with a friend
- Make some business calls that don’t require notes
- Take your kids. Invest in a double stroller or structured carrier. 3 kids or more? Have the bigger ones ride bikes or walk the dog. Some double strollers even have boogie board attachment!
There are a variety of reasons and different ways to include walking into your daily life. Everyone’s specific goals will be different but we all want the same end result. Good health and happy bodies!
What strategy are you going to try first? Let me know in the comments below!
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