Keeping active is an incredibly important part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and walking has many great health benefits.
The Health Benefits Of Walking
- Stimulates circulation and improves your cardiovascular and respiratory systems (keeps your heart and lungs healthy!)
- Increases muscle strength and endurance
- Reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke
- Tones your legs, buttocks and core whilst reducing overall body fat
- Promotes stronger bones
- Improves balance
- Helps manage chronic illness such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol
- Reduces stress levels
- Promotes the release of endorphins or ‘happy hormones’
How Many Steps A Day?
Since the dawn of mankind walking has been an important part of our daily lives. Historically as humans, we stayed actively on our feet for about 16 hours of the day. Today, with all the modern technology being created to ‘help’ us stay as immobile as possible, we are becoming more and more unhealthy. Our bodies are just not designed to sit still!
The recommended number of steps per day is 10, 000 (or 5 miles). Most people won’t be getting this many steps in unless they are making a conscious effort to do so.
Each Step Counts
There are many ways in which you can increase the amount of steps you take each day, just by making a few small lifestyle changes:
- Walk short distances – Opt to walk short distances, such as to the corner shop or to a friends place, instead of hopping in the car. The fresh air will be good for you and your body will thank you.
- Shun the elevator/escalator – It can be tempting to step on to the elevator or escalator to avoid those stairs, however steps are an excellent way to strengthen and tone your legs, glutes and core muscles, at the same time as getting your heart rate up.
- Make time to move – If you have a desk job, and spend most of your time sitting down, try to break up this time by having 5 minute walking intervals (or even some star jumps or jogging on the spot). Not only is this good for your health, as it gets your heart pumping and wakes up your muscles, it will also help keep you productive!
- Take Lunch elsewhere – If you work in an office, or from home, consider packing a lunch and walking to have it elsewhere, perhaps a park? Or the beach? Or a nice spot nearby.
Enjoy Each Step
Walking about doesn’t have to be a chore that you avoid, or only do because you think you have to, there are many fun activities that not only increase the number of steps you do in your day, but get you fit whilst you have fun!
- Step Classes – These upbeat classes use small steps and a series of movements (often with light weights) that will get your heart pumping and your pedometer count rising!
- Guided Hikes – This is a great way to get out in the fresh air, explore this beautiful country/world and increase your fitness.
- Beach Strolls – If you are lucky enough to live near a beach, then take advantage of the sand and the salty air. Walk on your own or with family and friends. Increase the effort involved by opting to walk on the soft sand, to really tone your muscles!
- Walking The Dog – Owning a pet is a great motivator for getting out and about and increasing your daily step count.
- Geocaching – A fantastic adventure you can do with family or friends, go online to find where the closest posts are and go treasure hunting!
- Skipping – Skipping is not only another fun way to increase your daily steps, it is also an incredibly effective fat burner.
- Dancing – Whether you enjoy tango, Zumba, line dancing or just free styling to music, dancing is a fun way to increase your daily step count.
- Rock Climbing – Whether you enjoy indoor or outdoor, rock climbing will strengthen and tone your whole body.
- Meditation Walking – Why not incorporate two beneficial activities in one and start going for daily meditation walks. Even if only for 10 minutes, meditation walking increases your step count whilst cultivating mindfulness.