Without making any conscious effort to exercise, you probably walk about 5,000 steps a day. Research tells us that upping this to 10,000 a day helps to keep your heart healthy and your weight down - two results that will do heaps for your long-term health. What's more, doubling your daily step total isn't a big ask - the only real obstacle is your mindset!
Here are some insights that might get you in the mood for a walk tonight.
It's the exercise for people who hate exercise
For those who don't like intense exercise, like running or swimming lengths, walking is the best solution out there. You'll be so busy enjoying the scenery, you'll hardly notice you're exercising. You can get major health benefits from mild exercise, as long as you do enough and do it regularly.
It's good for your bones
You know that walking is good for your heart and lungs, but did you know it's also good for your bones? Walking is a weight-bearing exercise, so it helps you to maintain bone density and avoid osteoporosis (bone thinning). Regular walking can also reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer, arthritis and anxiety.
It's easy to fit into your day
If you don't have time before work, do a half-hour walk at lunchtime. And if a work crisis means you have to work through lunch, walk before dinner. If there's no time before dinner, put on a reflective vest and walk after dinner. Any time can be walking time.
It's fun to wear a pedometer
Pedometers cost less than $10 - they're comfortable to wear and provide tangible evidence that you're doing enough walking. It's fun to watch the steps mount up - you'll find yourself looking for excuses to walk instead of sitting or driving. When you hit the magic 10,000 steps mark, you can put your feet up.
You don't need to join anything or pay anything to walk. However if you do want to invest in your walking future, buy a good pair of walking shoes. All the athletic shoe brands make purpose-built walking shoes - be sure to have yours professionally fitted, so that you're getting the right fit.
- Correct walking posture
- Think of being tall and straight - don't lean forward or back
- Eyes forward, about six metres ahead
- Chin up (parallel to the ground)
- Shrug once, so that your shoulders fall and relax, then pull your shoulders slightly back
- Suck in your stomach
- Tuck in your behind