by Samantha Clayton
Don’t underestimate the power of walking. Adding some extra walking minutes to your day can have a positive impact on your health and fitness goals, and your step count.
Want a fun, effective and sociable activity that will help you add exercise to your daily routine?
Aim to complete 10,000 steps each day. Read on to find out how you can add more steps to your day.
Fall in love with walking
Walking is fun, especially if you do it with a friend. And it’s cardiovascular in nature, so starting a walking program during the month of February is perfect because it’s officially American Heart Month. While love is in the air around Valentine’s Day, my advice is to love someone enough to take them on a walk this month.
Why walking can help you feel good
Many people see walking as an activity that’s too low in intensity to get them any noticeable fitness results. The truth is that the effects of adding extra walking to your day goes far beyond the physical, because walking can make you feel good, too. If you’re someone who dismisses the idea of walking as exercise, then think again. While walking isn’t a high intensity exercise, it has marvelous benefits that could help add extra pep to your stride.
How 10,000 steps can take you from inactive to active
Putting one foot in front of the other as you walk is a type of activity that is very achievable for many people. Walking is a great first step that inactive people can take to get them onto what I call the fitness ladder. Once you get up and moving with a simple activity such as walking, your body will naturally release feel good brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine, giving you an emotional boost that may help to get you even more active.
How to increase your step count and add more walking to your day
Change simple habits such as parking further from the store, getting off the bus one stop sooner, taking the stairs, avoiding escalators and moving walkways or a brisk 5 minute coffee-break walk to help you to accumulate this number of steps.
To reach this number of steps you will need to start adding in walking on the spot while you are on the phone and a 20 minutes coffee-break walk. Make a conscious effort to get up from your desk a few times a day and walk for 5 minutes and get active around your home.
Achieving 10,000 steps per day takes commitment. Aim to use stairs as exercise by taking them 5-6 times, walking 5km, taking a 40-minute dog walk, and taking two 20-minute coffee-break walks.
This is a significant number of steps because anything less than 5,000 means you’re quite inactive (according to ASCM guidelines, less than 5,000 steps daily is sedentary). Reaching 10,000 steps every day will help you feel like you’re really exercising.
The best way to track your 10,000 steps per day
Invest in a simple pedometer or phone app to help you to keep track. There are lots of fancy gadgets but I suggest finding something that you can clip to clothing, wear or keep in a pocket so that every step counts.
Lots of wearable gadgets have indicators that monitor your daily walking steps. In fact, many of the mobile apps and bracelets even congratulate you when you have reached your goal for the day.