Setting aside some time to go for a 45 minute walk isn’t always easy. We all live busy lives and between family and work, fitting in a workout isn’t always possible. What if I told you that you didn’t have to dedicate a set block of time for your walking workouts? What if you could get the same health benefits by working in a little more activity here and there throughout your day? And what if there was a fun little gadget that helped you keep track of it and motivated you to move more?
There is and it’s called a pedometer. You can pick up an inexpensive model at your local super store or order it from Amazon. Or you can go with something a little fancier like a Fitbit for example. But before you head out to spend any money, check your smart phone. Many models have a pedometer built in. All you need to do is download a free app and you’re good to go.
The pedometer will track how many steps you take on any given day. It will also track how many minutes you’ve spent being active and how many miles you’ve walked. In other words, it keeps track of how much exercise you get during your day. And the good news is that it doesn’t matter if you head out after work for a 45 minute walk, or if you work out in little spurts here and there throughout the day. Maybe you start your day by parking a little further away from the office and walking a couple of hundred extra steps. Then you take a quick stroll during your lunch break. You wrap up your day by walking around the park while your kids play. And just like that you’ve gotten your exercise in without having to block out any additional time.
Give it a try. Put on a pedometer, or start tracking with that phone you’re always carrying around anyway and see how much you’re walking around any given day. From there, try to get a little more active as time goes by until you hit your stepping goal. For most of us 10,000 steps per day is a good long term goal, but if you’re feeling more ambitious than that, go for it.
Keeping track of your steps is very motivating. Looking at your pedometer and realizing you’re 2,000 steps away from your daily goal may be just the motivation you need to head out for that after dinner stroll.
Walking has all sorts of health benefits among them the ability to help lower your blood pressure and strengthen your heart. Many people at risk for stroke and heart disease are overweight, unhealthy and have a hard time exercising. Thankfully walking is an easy, low-impact workout that almost anyone can do.
Start where you’re at. Just put on your shoes and head out there. If all you can do is walk for five to ten minutes, start there. It’s a great start and that’s a lot more exercise than you’ve been getting. Stick with it for a week and then see if you can make it for 15 minutes.
If you can go for 30 minute walk, start there. Pick up the pace, walk briskly and after a week or two, try to go for 45 minute walks. Or break up your walking workout into 3 shorter sessions interspersed throughout your day.
If you have any health conditions and in particular, if you’re suffering from high blood pressure and are at risk for heart disease, discuss your walking plans with your doctor. The two of you can come up with a plan that’s appropriate and safe for you.
Getting out and walking will help you on several different levels. The act of walking itself, particularly if you can go for a walk out in a pretty park is very relaxing and will lower your blood pressure soon after the walk. That’s a terrific benefit of walking and something that will help you feel better right away. But the benefits don’t stop there.
The regular exercise will strengthen your heart. Remember your heart is a muscle and going for a brisk walk works out more than your leg muscles. As you work out your heart, it gets stronger and better at pumping blood through your body. And as you strengthen your muscles and your body overall, you are likely losing body fat. That’s good news for your blood pressure long term. All it takes is heading out there for a short little walk each day. As you get stronger those walks will get longer and you may even give swimming or riding your bike a try.
Healthy diet, regular exercise, and losing weight are some of the most effective ways to reduce hypertension regularly. Add to that the fact that walking helps you destress and it’s no wonder that walking regularly has such beneficial effects on your health. Ready to get started? Put on your shoes and go for that first walk.
We were designed to walk for miles and miles to hunt and gather our food. Yet, in modern society, we spend most of our time sitting down. That is not good for our bodies leading to a host of health problems. This is probably one of the most important reasons to make an effort to move around and go for a walk each day. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Most of us sit for our work, we eat sitting down, and to be honest all we want to do when we come home from work is plop down on the couch for a Netflix marathon until bedtime.
In other words, getting and staying in the habit of going for a walk each day can be a bit of a challenge. But that’s exactly what we need to do. We need to get in the habit of going for that walk just like we’re in the habit of brushing our teeth twice a day or taking out the trash on Tuesdays. Once it’s a well ingrained habit, it won’t be as much of a challenge to make sure we go for a walk each day.
A great place to start is to find a walking route you enjoy. It helps to make it as easy as possible. Your favorite walk may offer beautiful vistas, but if it’s a 30 minute drive there and back, you’ll be less likely to do it every single day. Instead, save that walk for the weekends and come up with something convenient and pleasant for your everyday walking routine. If you can, find a route in your own neighborhood so you can leave right from your front door. Just lace up your shoes and start walking.
Taking the same route every day helps form that habit. It’s also encouraging to notice that you can walk the same loop faster or with less effort over time. It proves that you’re making a difference and are getting stronger and increasingly fitter.
Listening to your favorite music, podcast or audio books is also helpful. It will make the time go by faster and give you something else to look forward to. You can even use your favorite media as a way to bribe yourself to go for your daily walk. Let’s say you have a couple of podcasts you enjoy. Save them for your walks and only let yourself listen to them while you’re walking. It’s a great incentive to get out there even on days when you’re not feeling it.
Last but not least consider walking with other people. Find a walking group in your area, or talk a friend or neighbor into becoming your walking buddy. Not only is it more fun to walk when you have someone to talk to, it also has some built in accountability. It’s much easier to skip a walking workout when you know that other people are waiting for you and relying on you to join them.
Give these tips a try and see if they help you make walking a daily habit and an integral part of your health, your fitness, and your life.
If you haven’t exercised in a while, or are looking for something easy you can do every single day give walking a try. It’s the perfect low impact way to exercise. It’s easy to do, you don’t need any special equipment and you can start at the fitness level you’re at.
If you’re not in the best of shape, start by going for a 10 or 15 minute walk around the neighborhood and work your way up from there. If you’re already in great shape, walking can still provide an effective workout. Walk fast and incorporate some hills and even stairs.
But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. If you’re like most of us, chances are you haven’t exercised much since you got out of college and need to start small. Maybe your doctor suggested that you move around more, or maybe you just want to be proactive about your health and well-being. In either case, walking is the perfect way to start.
Find a pair of comfortable shoes, put them on and go for a stroll through your neighborhood. You could also find a local park with a nice path you can walk on. If the weather doesn’t permit walking outside, head to your local mall and walk or hop on a treadmill.
You can even walk in place at home in front of your TV. Here’s a simple little idea to get you moving more. As you’re sitting on the couch at night watching TV, get up during commercial breaks and march in place until your favorite TV show comes back on. If you’re using a service like Netflix, make yourself walk in place for 10 minutes in between episodes. Or turn on the TV and challenge yourself to march in place during the entire show. Time will fly while you’re having fun watching TV and moving.
Speaking of having fun, going for a walk outside can be a lot of fun too. Mix up your route and walk in different areas of town, or visit different parks. Invite a friend to come along with you to walk. It’s always nice to have someone to talk to and having a walking buddy keeps you accountable. Last but not least, grab your phone or MP3 player and listen to music or audio books as you walk to make the time go by faster.
The main thing is that you get out there, move around, and get some exercise in a way that’s gentle on your joints, your heart, and the rest of your body and that’s what walking will do for you. Just give it a try and see if you don’t start to feel better, happier, and stronger after a few weeks of regular walks.
Walking is one of the easiest and least expensive forms of exercise there is. It can be done almost anywhere, in any weather, provided you plan ahead and put safety first. The US Surgeon General’s recommendation is that adults should take 10,000 steps per day to maintain health and fitness. The trouble is, how can you possibly count them?
Many people think they have to do the 10,000 steps in 1 or 2 dedicated walking sessions of a couple of miles at a time, but this is not the case at all. ALL of the steps you take each day can add up to 10,000 or more depending on how active your lifestyle is.
The best way to keep track of all your steps is with a reliable pedometer. There are different kinds, from clip-ons at your belt or on your shoe, to ones you wear around your neck or put in your pocket. They all function essentially the same, counting your steps throughout the day.
Distance is not a great guide to your goal because we all have different lengths of stride. A short person might cover only a distance of 3.5 miles, while a taller person with longer legs and therefore a bigger stride might cover 5 miles easily.
Going for your goal
All your steps can all add up to your goal of 10,000 steps. Using a pedometer helps you keep track easily. It can also remind you to walk more. For example, a quick glance at your pedometer toward the end of your workday day show that you need more steps to meet your goal. Walk home, get off a stop earlier or later on your bus, or walk after dinner, in order to meet your goal.
Using a walking log or journal and your pedometer will help you keep track of your steps, which will keep you motivated. So too will finding a range of ways to add more steps to your day. The stairs count both going up and coming down. Striding through the supermarket or milling around the mall will also count.
The pedometer will not keep track of your speed, which you should vary from time to time, but it will help you stay motivated towards your goal and proud of all your efforts to get fitter with a structured walking program.
A walking program that aims for 10,000 steps a day is a great way to include exercise in your daily routine. Walking is a safe exercise that can be done almost anywhere, during any season, provided you use some common sense.
Walking has been shown to prevent many of the common medical conditions that affect people as they age. It is even though to be protective against some cancers, such as colon cancer, and lower the risk of dementia and diabetes.
Those who already have chronic conditions can also benefit from regular exercise. Walking is low impact but is a weight-bearing exercise that quickly helps build muscle and improve bone health.
Walking has been shown to prevent or improve the following health conditions:
Studies have shown that people with cancer who walk regularly tend to have better outcomes than those who do not. Those with rheumatoid arthritis need to exercise regularly in order to minimize the damage this autoimmune disorder does as it attacks the joints.
A recent study has shown that walking appears to be protective against Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Those who suffer from Alzheimer’s usually have at least one of the conditions listed above, so the more you can do to prevent these, the more independent and mobile you can remain well into your senior years.
The most obvious benefit of walking is to tone and trim, and help you lose weight. Walking burns calories and works a range of muscle groups at the same time.
As with all forms of exercise, check with your doctor first to make sure you are well enough to walk. If you are over 40 and spend most of your time sitting at work or at home, and have not seen a doctor in the past year, start your walking program with a full checkup.
If you have any chronic health condition, warning signs and symptoms to watch out for include:
-Asthma, diabetes or heart trouble.
-Pain in your arm, neck or chest when you are active (angina) or even at rest.
-Frequent dizzy spells.
-Trouble breathing after physical activity.
-Issues with your bones or joints that make it painful to walk.
A walking program can offer many health benefits provided you put safety and common sense first.
Walking is one of the easiest exercises to enjoy, suitable for all ages and fitness levels. It is low-impact, which will protect bones and joint, but it is also a valuable aerobic activity that can improve your heart health.
Aerobic exercise raises you heart rate, giving your heart, the most important muscle in your body, a good work out. This will keep it pumping regularly and efficiently. Walking increases your breathing and intake of oxygen. It boost blood circulation as well, which means your heart is able to distribute more oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to your body from top to toe.
Better circulation means lower blood pressure. It also means lower cholesterol, which means fewer clogged arteries and less risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), that is, blockage of one or more arteries that supply the heart tissue with life-giving oxygen. Less risk of CAD means less risk of heart attack.
Walking burns calories, builds lean muscle, boosts metabolism, and reduces body fat. Less weight and body fat will often mean lower cholesterol and less wear and tear on your heart and body generally.
If you want to start a walking program for your heart health, your first step is to check in with your doctor. If haven’t visited the doctor in the past year, make an appointment for a complete physical. If you have seen them recently, find out what your blood pressure, cholesterol and other readings were. Note these down in a walking journal you should start to help you keep track of your goals and progress towards them.
Next, explain to your doctor that you want to start a walking program. Given the overall state of your health, ask if there are any special guidelines you should follow.
Start out slowly at first
Add a couple of hundred steps to your regular daily routine rather than trying to do 10,000 overnight.
Observe proper form in terms of posture and stride.
Chin up, chest out, and strike your heel first on the ground and allow your foot to roll up towards the ball and toes.
Don’t forget to warm up and cool down.
Stretch before and after each session. Walk at a slower pace at the start and end, and speed up in the middle.
Use a pedometer to log your steps.
It will keep you on target for your 10,000.
Walking can be an excellent exercise for those with arthritis if they observe some simple but essential safety precautions. The precautions will depend on which type of arthritis a person suffers from.
Osteoarthritis, or OA, is the result of normal wear and tear on the body that comes from aging and sometimes injury. The main symptoms are joint pain, and sometimes popping and cracking, a condition known as crepitus, as the ligaments and tendons stretch. Movement can be restricted due to stiffness and pain, but the truth is that joint health is a case of ” use it or lose it” with OA.
The more you sit still, the stiffer you will get. If you do try to exercise, you will experience pain, so you will sit still, get stiffer, and so on. Walking can help keep you mobile, improve your range of motion, and reduce stiffness. It will also burn calories, which will help you to lose weight. Losing weigh will take the pressure off knees, hips and back. Experts estimate that every 1 pound lost is the equivalent of 4 pounds of pressure off your knees when you step down.
Rheumatoid arthritis, or RA, is an autoimmune disorder in which the body starts to attack itself most specifically the feet, ankles, wrists and ankles. Exercise is a must if you have RA in order to try to prevent severe damage as the RA attacks the joints.
A good pair of walking shoes with proper support and cushioning can keep your workouts pain free. Try to walk on an even surface to reduce the risk of trips and falls. Vary your intensity by walking up and down stairs as you are able. In particular, be careful of walking downstairs, as this can put a lot of pressure on joints such as the knee if you have OA and are overweight.
Avoid carrying too much weight when you are walking, and be sure to stretch gently at the start and end of each walking session. Avoid rugged terrain that can cause you to twist your ankle or knee. Start gradually to avoid shin splints, microtears in the muscles at the front of your legs, which can make every step agony.
A walking program can help increase your flexibility, strength, and build bone and muscle to support healthier joints. So what are you waiting for? Lace up your walking shoes and walk your way to better joint health.