Posted by: Hil | October 30, 2008

Walking

As I mentioned, I am devoted to walking as a form of exercise.  I know that to all of you 5K folk, my walking routine probably sounds pretty cushy.  But I know that for people who are just getting started, 10,000 steps sounds like a lot!  So I thought I would share a few of my tips for incorporating more walking into your day. 

1.  Buy a good pedometer and carry it with you everywhere. Amazon.com has a great selection if you don’t have a nearby sporting goods store. I love my little $20 Omron pedometer because it is sensitive enough that I can carry it in my pocket during the day rather than clipping it to my waistband. You can even carry it in your purse.

2.  The little things add up.  Take the stairs, do jumping jacks during TV commercials, sweep and wipe down your kitchen counters whenever you get the chance…you get the idea.

3.  Write a list of things that you have to do that either involve walking or are within walking distance of your home or work. This is multitasking of the highest order. If I need some steps, I just think of something else that I have to do anyway. A quick jaunt to the ATM or grocery store, and I have both fulfilled an errand and taken some steps!

4.  Go grocery shopping.  If you are lucky enough to live close to a grocery store or farmers market, make frequent, small walking trips there. This is also a great way to always have fresh produce on hand.  Even if you drive to the store, walking around a big grocery store or farmers market for a while racks up more steps than you would think.

5.  Walk to and from.  You can walk farther if you have a break planned in the middle.  My favorite application of this principle:  walk to a coffee shop or café to get yourself a healthy treat. Sit and read or talk to a friend while you enjoy it. Then walk back. I do this every Saturday. It’s a three mile round trip, but it doesn’t feel that long with a break in the middle.

6.  Add a scheduled walk (or two or three) to your day.  Fit one in first thing in the morning, after dinner, or on your lunch break.  This doesn’t have to be a chore.  You may come to think of it as a welcome opportunity to de-stress and take some time for yourself.

7.  Figure out a surefire way to get in a lot of steps at the end of the day.  Sure, you can go on a walk, but there are lots of more creative ways.  My method of choice: Dance Dance Revolution. DDR is a video game that involves stepping on a controller pad on the floor in time with the music. The harder levels have very fast, complicated step sequences that provide a pretty respectable workout. It’s tons of fun and doesn’t feel like exercise. Even if I’ve had a very slow day, half an hour to an hour of DDR at the end of the day can easily bring me back to my step goal.   Other methods might include an aerobics video, jumping jacks, or just dancing around your house.  Speaking of which…

8.  Crank up the music and dance! Seriously, it works. I have been known to dance around my apartment like an idiot at the end of the day. When I’m out of the house, my husband loves to blast music and dance around while he vacuums and does dishes. It’s fun, and it all counts.

9.  Walk and talk.  This is my favorite easy tip and I discovered it completely by accident.  I spend a lot of time on the phone talking to family members and college friends.  Often I meander around outside while I talk on my cell phone.  Shockingly, even if my pace barely qualifies as a stroll, I end up getting so many steps from doing this!  If you think about it, no matter how slowly you walk, you’re bound to get in at least a mile or two of walking at least for every hour.  And I don’t know about you, but I am perfectly capable of spending an hour talking on the phone.

As you can see, this isn’t rocket science.  But the little things really do add up.  It’s all about a little bit of strategy!

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Responses

  1. I love walking 🙂 I walk at lunch and sometimes I walk at night with Bobby (that’s rare though). Recently I’ve gotten into running but walking will always be my favorite.

  2. Great tips! I love walking too. It’s just so beneficial and enjoyable and really coincidental that I just got back from walk around the neighborhood! Again, like magpie, I’ve recently gotten into running but walking has always been my exercise of choice at school (besides yoga/pilates). We experience a dreadfully long, cold, and snowy winter so I had to choose between going to the gym (not a big fan) or walking to and from class everyday (I lived 2 miles from main campus). It was such a wonderful habit to get into and I found myself looking forward to the commute by foot, sometimes I spent it on the phone with my family or a friend and other times I just let my thoughts keep me company, it was the perfect time for daily reflections. I even lost 5 pounds basically, by accident. Like I said… I love walking too 🙂

  3. Great advise 🙂

  4. FABULOUS tips!! Thank you!!

  5. i always do forget about little things adding up – i am such an all-or-nothing person, it’s either i do a reeally sweaty & intense workout or i sit immobile for hours. not good!!! thank you for posting this!

  6. I think walking is great! It provides so many health benefits, I always feel great after a long walk and I don’t get any aches and pains like I sometimes do with running!

    Re: work out video
    Don’t really have any. Does she have exercise TV? I’ve heard people like that.


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