Most people don’t think of walking as exercise, but it has many different health benefits. Here’s some ways you can start walking your way to a healthier lifestyle.
1. Add more steps
- In one significant study, a group of sedentary people were given a daily goal of 10,000 steps of brisk activity, as measured by their pedometers.
- They improved their fitness levels, blood pressure and body fat just as much as a group that followed a traditional gym-based aerobic program.
- Overall, studies find that getting 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day (about eight kilometres) helps you lose weight.
- Adding to that another 2,000 steps (an extra 1.6 kilometres a day), helps you maintain your current weight and stop gaining weight.
2. Walk faster earlier in your walk
- If you want to increase the amount of fat you burn during your walk, add some bursts of faster walking towards the beginning of your walk.
- Many walkers wait until the end of the walk to speed up, treating their faster walking as a finishing kick.
- One study found that exercisers burned more fat and felt less fatigued when they walked faster at the beginning of a workout.
- It works because you speed up your heart rate early and keep it elevated for the rest of your walk.
3. Walk around the office or house
- Are you stuck at your desk working all day? Get up and walk around for five minutes at least every two hours.
- A brisk five-minute walk every two hours will parlay into an extra 20-minute walk by the end of the workday.
- Getting a break will make you less likely to reach for snacks.
- It’s good idea to get up and walk around for a few minutes every hour or so if you’re sitting for long periods of time.
4. Lengthen and speed up your stride while walking
- Become a high-energy walker — fast, confident, with good posture and healthy arm swinging.
- Just this little everyday adjustment will deliver lots of extra calories burned, stronger legs and a shapelier behind over time.
5. Get a pedometer
Once you figure out the benefits of this palm-size gadget, your days on the treadmill could be history.
- You wear pedometers on your waist. The device senses your body motion and counts your footsteps, then converts the count into distance based on the length of your stride.
- Don’t skimp on quality when you buy a pedometer. One study found that cheap pedometers are less accurate. Even worse, most overestimated participants’ steps.
Walking is an easy, everyday exercise with plenty of benefits. You can do it anywhere, and it can help you break up your day and lead a healthier lifestyle.