Walking works wonders

Couple walking a Labrador dog in the fall

Walking is something that most people should try to do every day. It is one of the simplest and least expensive options available to increase your physical activity level and improve your overall health.

So, you may have heard that recommended levels of activity should be around 10,000 steps per day. Maybe you have a pedometer, maybe you don’t, but 10,000 steps can be a lot if you are not used to moving.

Instead of jumping straight to exercise by joining a class, or entering a bootcamp, try these walking works wonders tips to add more activity into your day.

1. Watch your step

When you shop, park farther away from the entrance, you’ll be surprised how many additional steps you make. Don’t stop there, grab a basket instead of a cart, you’ll find you get in and out of the stores much more quickly (and cheaply) than you do when you cruise around with your shopping cart.

2. Get off the level

Try a bathroom that’s farther away or on a different floor. If you work in a building with several bathrooms, pick the one farthest from you to use. Do the same thing if you have multiple bathrooms at home. Drink lots of water so you have to go often!

3. Get off the phone

Go talk to a colleague at work instead of emailing or calling.  Make it a habit to do this several times a day.

4. Don’t be so efficient

Instead of working efficiently at household tasks, work inefficiently. Fold your laundry and put it away room by room, instead of loading up the “leaning tower” hurting your back to put it away. Try a few items, or even just one at a time. At work, make several trips to the fax machine or copier instead of saving everything for one trip.

5. Pick it up

You can get in a lot of steps picking up around the house. Chasing around a busy toddler or pets sure can pile up the toys, books, clothes, shoes. Don’t get mad, add steps!

6. Walk the talk

Have walking discussions. I first heard of this idea in a medical conference in Boston MA, doctors in hospitals have starting walking meetings. They have painted certain colour lines on the hospital floors to work, walk and talk all that the same time. It’s a great way to sneak some exercise into your day.

7. Walk the shop

A quick trip around the store can add up to several hundred steps in just a few minutes. You can window shop while you are at it, but make it a rule that you keep moving for one full circumnavigation of the store or mall before you stop to shop. Remember, the outer aisle of the grocery store is where you will find your healthier, unprocessed foods anyways-dairy, meat, fruit and vegetables.

8. Save the gas

If possible, walk to nearby shops or restaurants. We are fortunate to primarily live in communities that have wonderful walking trails and pathways. Save some cash and you’ll get in your steps both coming and going. Is there a nearby shop or store where you can have lunch or dinner? Walk there and back double your steps fast.