This month, I’m making a concerted effort to walk more often.
I work in an office on a computer, so I’m constantly sitting. That usually results in an abysmal 4500 steps a day, about half the daily recommended step-count of 10,000. During the winter, I could blame my step count on the nasty weather – once I got home, I didn’t want to make the extra effort to amp up my walking. The cold and snow were easy excuses to sit on my butt while my Garmin went idle, but now that it’s 80+ degrees those are no longer applicable. I have to find a good balance between walking and floating listlessly in my pool.
Walking has all sorts of health benefits that I’m sure you’ve already heard about. For example, it can help to prevent several chronic diseases, like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, while lowering your blood pressure and your overall risk of stroke. Walking also can help you get in shape – it’ll boost your metabolism, help burn some calories, and improve how your body responds to insulin (which is important in cutting out some of that stubborn belly fat). Don’t forget about the important mental health benefits! Walking can actually modify your nervous system such that you don’t experience as much anger and hostility in your day-to-day life.¹
There’s definitely a lot to gain, especially considering that walking is such a low-impact activity! Sign me up!
Ideally, I’d like to shoot for 15,000 steps a day. Some recent studies from 2017 have shown that people achieving 15,000 steps a day eliminated virtually all risk of cardiovascular disease.² However, that’s a pretty lofty goal if you’re not in an active career. So I’m only shooting for an average of 10,000 steps a day (70,000 steps a week)! In order to achieve my walking goals, I’ve come up with some ways to take some extra steps:
- Take a 20-minute walk during lunch breaks
- Take the dog for an additional 30-minute walk in the late evening (don’t want to burn any paw pads!)
- Park in the back of parking lots (also keeps the car safe!)
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator when possible
- Make a whirlpool in the pool (with the added benefit of easier cleaning)
- Use a walking lawn mower to cut the grass
- Drink more water… to take more bathroom trips at work (two-fold benefits!)
I’ll be posting my weekly step totals for the next 4 weeks on Twitter (@NerdHealthy) and Instagram (@diaryofahealthynerd) so that I hold myself accountable. After all, if you do something persistently enough, it’ll turn into a lifestyle habit. Join me on my steps challenge!
What are some ways that you increase your walking during the day? Have you already started walking and seen some improvements in your everyday life? Sound off in the comments!