Want an easy way to get more exercise and build towards a healthier life in general? Want to burn off some extra calories without having to change your daily routine too much? Looking for a way to include your spouse/kids/parents/friends/dog in your exercise regimen to make it more fun? Then dig out your best sneakers because we’re about to explain to you how walking – simple walking and as little as 10,000 steps a day – can do all of this for you and more.
What’s So Great About Walking?
Walking has all kinds of ‘ease benefits’ for everyone. It can be done anywhere, in almost any weather, really does not require expensive special equipment, is an activity that can be undertaken alone or as part of a group and unless you are under the age of one or so there’s no learning curve involved!
Walking is also a relatively gentle form of exercise. For those suffering from chronic pain problems in the back, knees or lower limbs, activities like running, or even jogging, can be a jolt to the joints they really don’t need. And as it’s fine to walk at whatever pace suits you those who are younger (or older) will find it easier to join in as well.
In terms of other positive health benefits walking is a very heart healthy activity, it builds stamina, burns calories, and, according to a number of recent formal scientific studies, can help significantly reduce stress and help alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety disorders.
So How Far Do I Need to Walk to Get the Biggest Benefits?
The almost across the board current recommendation is that people begin with a daily step goal of 10,000 steps if they want to use walking as a ‘proper’ form of exercise. 10,000 steps is about five miles a day. It sounds like a lot we know but you don’t actually need to go on a formal 8K walk every day to get those 10,000 steps in.
On average, simply going about their daily lives, most people already walk 3,000-4,000 steps a day anyway. And making it up to that 10,000 step goal can be easier than you think, even if you, like many, have the kind of job that keeps you deskbound for much of the day. Here are just a few easy ways to add more steps to your day:
- Park your car further away from the office
- Take the stairs not the lift
- Get moving during your break times, even if it’s just walking around the office
- Take a walk after lunch
- Go to speak with colleagues down the hall instead of emailing them.
- Take an evening stroll, maybe even one with your family
These are just a few easy ways to add to your daily step count, as you try it out you’ll find there are many more and that taking more steps every day, maybe even more than 10,000, isn’t that hard after all.
Tracking Your Steps
Obviously, counting steps manually in your head all day is not exactly possible so you’ll need a way to track them. A simple manual pedometer will keep count of your daily steps and if you get a little more tech savvy, a wearable fitness tracker can do even more.
Wearable fitness trackers are designed to monitor a number of different things, not just step count. They can be used to monitor your heart rate, calories burned throughout the day and distance walked in kilometers and miles. These trackers then link to smartphone apps that allow you to set and track goals and monitor your progress so that you have a visual, motivational record of what your walking is achieving.
And the little band itself is a powerful motivator. If it lets you know at lunchtime that you are only halfway to your step goal that will prompt you to adjust the rest of your day so that you do. And finally the feeling of satisfaction when that 10,000th step clicks past? Priceless (and also very healthy for you.)