Never underestimate the power of walking! Simply dedicating time to walking every day can have a positive impact on your health and fitness goals. Want a fun, effective and sociable activity that will help you add exercise to your daily routine? Aim to walk more everyday! Here, fitness expert Samantha Clayton reveals her tips on how to maximise your daily step count.
Why fall in love with walking?
- Walking can be fun, especially if you do it with a friend.
- If you’re someone who dismisses the idea of walking as exercise due to the low intensity, then think again. While walking isn’t a high intensity exercise, it is cardiovascular by nature, and gets you active, which is key to achieving your goals.
- An achievable activity for the majority of people, walking is a great first step to get inactive people onto the ‘fitness ladder’. Once you get moving with a simple activity such as walking, it may lead to you becoming even more active.
- Walking costs no money, takes very little skill and can be easily adapted to your daily routine so it becomes part of your everyday life, such as by walking to/from work.
3 ways to increase your step count and add more walking to your day
- Change simple habits such as parking further from the shops, getting off the bus one stop sooner, taking the stairs rather than the elevator or walking over to talk to colleagues instead of emailing.
- Make conscious decisions to walk on the spot while on the phone, get up from your desk a few times per day and walk for 5 minutes, or take a walk on your lunch break. Spend some time (15-20 minutes) on a treadmill, and get active around your home; cleaning and gardening mean you’ll take more steps too!
- Set yourself targets such as climbing up the stairs as exercise multiple times per day, walking 5km, taking a 40-minute dog walk or taking two 20-minute coffee-break walks per week. This will add up to a significant number of steps.
Are you walking fast enough?
If finding time to exercise is difficult for you, you should consider increasing your walking pace to increase your number of steps in less time. Here are four walking paces to consider:
S = Social walking. A slow pace where maintaining a conversation is easy.
B = Brisk walking. Requires about 60% effort. You can still talk but are a little out of breath.
F = Fast walking. Requires about 70-80% effort and makes talking very difficult.
P = Powerwalking. You’re unable to talk and are going as fast as you can while pumping your arms. Try to include some hills on your route.
The best way to track your daily steps
Investing in a simple pedometer or phone app will help you to keep track, after all it would be impossible to count 10,000 steps over the course of a day. There are lots of fancy gadgets but I suggest finding something that you can clip to clothing, wear or keep in a pocket so that every step counts! Lots of wearable gadgets have indicators that monitor your daily walking steps. In fact many of the mobile apps and bracelets even congratulate you when you have reached your goal for the day.
Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife.