When most people think of exercise, they think they have to join a gym or take a class. But every movement in our day is a form of exercise. So, to begin a habit of moving more is, itself, exercise. In our Step 6, we’re looking at ways to begin moving more, which will then build into a habit of exercising.
Let’s talk about the walk. We all have to walk to get places. Usually, we make a game out of how to walk the least distance to reach our destination. Can I squeeze the Suburban in that tight space four spaces from the door? Well, except when it’s raining or hot enough to melt steel, I park a little further from the door than before. Since I do drive a bigger vehicle, I honestly prefer spaces that don’t box me in too much. It makes maneuvering that big honking Suburban a lot easier.
According to The Walking Site, a sedentary person only averages 1,000-3,000 steps per day. There are approximately 2,000 steps in a mile. So, many people walk a mile or less each day. No wonder we develop so many health problems! Our bodies are designed to move, and when we sit in a chair or car or lay on the couch too much, we become stiff as boards.
Let’s think about this for a minute. Walking a mile burns about 100 calories. So, by calculating the calories in a bag of Oreos, you would need to walk from Texas to Alaska to burn off that one bag. That’s kind of depressing.
Besides burning calories, walking has many positive side effects.
Want more energy? Walk.
Want to slow weight gain or lose weight? Walk.
Want to improve your blood pressure and heart rate? Walk.
Want to blow off steam and relax? Walk.
All without crazy fad diets, sickening power drinks, meditation, or expensive medications that come with not-so-positive side effects..
Walking is a no-brainer healthy habit.
So, how do you get from 1,000 steps a day to 10,000 steps? That seems like an insurmountable hill to climb, but you do it like we’ve done all our other steps in the 12 Steps to a Healthier You Journey. One step at a time.
Gradually increase your daily steps by adding just a few hundred steps a day each week to quadruple your total daily steps in a few months.
Climb the stairs. I tried that at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, and I paid a painful price for several days. My advice is to add a floor a week instead of tackling the whole nine floors at once. I mentioned before to stay safe. Stairwells in underground parking garages are creepy.
Park farther away from the store. I don’t necessarily recommend this in July in Texas when you could have heat stroke walking that extra few yards, but at least stop gunning for the front row.
Take a hike. Hiking is a great family activity. You’ll walk further, have more fun, and see better scenery than any treadmill will offer.
Find friends to walk with. I know many people who form walking groups or just have a walking buddy in their neighborhood. Making a commitment to others increases your likelihood of showing up.
Now, lets be sensible. If you have health issues, consult your physician to formulate a plan that will allow you to succeed and not involve an ambulance.
Invest in decent walking shoes. Flip flops and spike heels are not appropriate walking attire.
Schedule a time to walk and make it a habit.
Measure your success. Use a fitness tracker or pedometer and journal to track your daily steps. You’ll be surprised and motivated by how much you improve in a few weeks.
This week’s challenge: Start counting your steps and add one activity a day to increase your total steps by 100.
Let me know how you do, and I’ll report on how I up my steps, too.