The first Wednesday of April is National Walking Day, sponsored by the American Heart Association. This campaign is designed to educate and encourage individuals to move more at work, school, and community. Research shows that walking at least 30 minutes a day can:
- Reduce risk of heart disease
- Improve blood pressure, blood sugar levels and blood lipid profiles
- Maintain body weight
- Lower the risk of obesity
- Enhance your mental well-being
Though these are just a few benefits, you can see that adding walking to your routine will have a positive impact on your overall health. Here are 5 Ways you can walk your way to a healthier you.
- How Far Can You Park?: How often do you try to find the closest parking spot at the store at work? Next time you are circling the parking lot for the next available spot, opt for the parking spot that is further away. You will be closer to reaching your step goal and you will save time waiting for that front row spot to open (bonus).
- Climb Those Stairs!: Challenge yourself to take the stairs rather than the elevator or escalator. If you are on the top floor, try walking up the first two flights, then as it gets easier, add another flight of stairs. It's a great way to get to a mini-exercise in throughout the day.
- Walk and Talk: We spend about 60% of our time sitting throughout the day. Instead of sitting use your cell phone, try walking around inside or outside while you're talking to your family or friends. If you have a meeting with a few meeting, see if you can have a walking meeting instead.
- Make it Social: You don't have to walk by yourself! Make it a fun social event and invite your co-workers to join you on your break or after work. Check around locally to see if there are any walking or running clubs - they have all experience levels and it's a great way to involved with others in your community.
- Step Your Way to Food: If your work is near several restaurants, especially if you work downtown, walk to the few blocks instead of driving. You will save time by not having to find a parking spot or deal with traffic and you will get to enjoy some fresh air on your way!
It is recommended that we get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week and an estimated 80% of adults did not meet this requirement in 2016. While getting 150 minutes a week may seem daunting, you can break this down to 30 minutes for five (5) days to meet this minimum.
- Take it slow. If you haven't walked for 30 minutes consecutively, it's okay to ease into. Begin by walking 5-10 minutes. Once that gets easier, add a few more minutes. You can even break it up throughout the day by walking ten (10) minutes three (3) times a day or fifteen (15) minutes twice (2) a day.
- Wear the right shoes. We use our feet for most everything, standing, walking, jumping, running, etc, so it's important that we take care of them. Wearing the proper shoes will not only spare our feet from hurting, but they will also prevent injury. It's best to go to a running store with experts who can guide you to the right shoe.
- Schedule "You" Time: It's hard to let time slip away as we get focused on our work. Set reminders on your calendar or phone to alert you when it's time to go on your walk break. This will serve as your opportunity to reset your brain and come back re-energized for your work.
- Get a Buddy: Ask your co-worker or significant other to be your accountability buddy. You are more likely to show up when someone is waiting for you than when you're by yourself. Plus, it makes it more fun when you have someone walking with you!
- Don't Quit: Sometimes we may be on a roll and walking 30 minutes a day for several weeks and then life happens. Don't get discouraged because you missed a few days or weeks. Just move forward and pick back up where you left off.
Do you have tips on how to get moving more? Share them below!