Walking is a part of our daily lives. There’s no getting around it. From the moment your feet hit the floor when you wake up in the morning, you’re moving.
However, have you ever considered the advantages of something you’re already doing every single day? Remember that walking isn’t complicated, it costs you nothing, and it doesn’t require any kind of special equipment. It’s something you can start at a pace that is comfortable to you and grow to whatever level and intensity you want.
Research has shown that walking for 20-30 minutes a day has some tremendous health benefits. It can help you lose weight, strengthen your heart and bones, lower your blood pressure, and improve your sleep, mood and outlook on life!
Now let’s talk about some ways to incorporate walking for 20-30 minutes a day into your daily routine. Before we do that, though, I have one suggestion. It’s been said that you can’t improve what you don’t measure, so I highly recommend getting a pedometer or step counter. A pedometer will help you have more control over your activities, achieve the goals you set, and motivate you!
A good goal to begin with is 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day. If that’s too much, then work your way up to that in smaller intervals that best suit you. Okay, now let’s get to some small, simple changes you can make every day to incorporate more walking into your routine.
1) Park farther away every time you go somewhere. I recently purchased a beautifully restored 1968 Ford Mustang. I enjoy driving it around town, but I don’t want any car doors accidentally hitting it. This has been a great reason to park farther away when I need to go somewhere and it gets me walking much more than I normally would. So if you need to imagine that your 20-year-old paid-for car is a restored classic muscle car in order to get you to park farther away, so be it!
2) Don’t send an email. Get up and walk over to the desk of the person you need to talk to. This not only gets you moving, but helps you build relationships with your coworkers.
3) Find the restroom that’s farthest away and walk to it instead of the closest one. Of course, you’ll need to plan this one accurately so that you make it in time.
4) The classic one we’ve all heard over the years is to take the stairs instead of using the elevator. This is typically an easy one to add when you know the building well. My goal is usually to take the stairs if I need to go one or two flights up or two or three flights down. If you want to add some intensity, run up or skip steps and move quickly up or down as you go.
5) Purchase a wireless headset for talking on the phone. Not only do I sit in front a computer all day, but I also talk on the phone a lot. Purchasing a wireless headset has provided me the freedom to move around and not feel tethered to my desk when I’m on calls. I’m able to get up, walk around, and still stay focused on listening to the conversation and adding value when needed.
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Last but not least, my favorite suggestion is to take 20-30 minutes of your lunch break time to walk. For me it works well because it forces me to get out of the office and moving right in the middle of the day.
I use the time for more than just getting in some movement. I will listen to informational podcasts, brainstorm ideas that have been floating around in my head, or walk with someone and build a relationship! You could also use this time as a more intensive walking period because you have a larger block of time. Try to walk at your fastest pace and get your heart rate up while you do.
Hopefully you can see all of the ways that walking benefits you. I encourage you to get creative, figure out what works best for your schedule, and go for a walk!