According to the American Heart Association (AHA), being physically active can play a major role in preventing heart disease and stroke, the No. 1 and No. 5 killers in the United States. So what’s an easy way for you to get up and improve your health? Give a few extra steps of walking each day a try!
When it comes to walking as exercise, there has been a lot of buzz recently about one magic number: 10,000 steps. In an article on PubMed, a widely respected online database of medical journal articles, some experts have weighed in on why that number is so appealing.
“A value of 10,000 steps/day is gaining popularity with the media and in practice and can be traced to Japanese walking clubs…10,000 steps/day appears to be a reasonable estimate of daily activity for apparently healthy adults, and studies are emerging documenting the health benefits of attaining similar levels.”
Reaching 10,000 steps can be a great part of your weekly fitness goals. The AHA and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend getting 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (e.g., brisk walking) every week. Setting a goal to walk 10,000 steps per day can be great motivation, not to mention can give you something easily measurable. So how do you get out of that office chair and reach the 10,000 steps per day goal? Here are some fun and simple ideas that you can easily add to your daily routine:
- Get a pedometer and log your steps. Studies have shown that wearing a pedometer helped people walk 15 percent more each day.
- During daylight hours, park at the end of the parking lot when shopping or running errands.
- Take the stairs rather than elevators and escalators.
- Bring comfortable shoes to work and go for a 15-minute walk during your lunch break.
- Research local walking paths online.
- Invite a friend to go on an early morning walk with you through your neighborhood or a local sports park.
- Walk around the field or neighborhood during your child’s dance class, soccer practice, etc., instead of sitting and waiting.
- Get the mail every day, and take a longer route to the mailbox.
- Walk over to a coworker’s desk to talk to him or her in person instead of sending an email.
- Early for an appointment? Walk around the block first instead of heading straight to the waiting room.
- Set an alarm on your computer, phone, etc., to go off every hour to remind you to stand up and walk around for a few minutes.
- Instead of reading a book on the couch, download it as an audiobook and listen while you go for a walk.
How do you work a few extra minutes of walking into your busy schedule? Share your tips with us in the comments!