Take the Next Step: Nine Ways to Walk More

— Written By Eleanor Frederick
en Español

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Woman walking on trail

We often associate a good workout with high-intensity exercises like running or weight-lifting. However, simply walking can have numerous health benefits regardless of your fitness level. Even if you do participate in high-intensity activities regularly, walking can be a great activity for an active rest day.

Getting into a routine of exercising regularly can be intimidating. Luckily, there are many tips and strategies available that can help you take one step at a time towards more healthy habits. With a comfortable pair of shoes, you can get in a good walk almost anywhere. So let’s lace up!

Why Walk?

Just putting one foot in front of the other for thirty minutes a day can have an incredible amount of health benefits.

  • Improves fitness and endurance
  • Boosts immune system
  • Reduces risk of cancer and chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and heart disease
  • Alleviates symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Improves circulation
  • Fine-tunes brain function and memory
  • Improves posture
  • Boosts creativity
  • Enhances sleep

Ways to Walk More

Getting in a workout routine can be difficult. Finding the time and motivation to walk multiple times a week can be hard when we have a busy schedule. With a stressful week, exercise is often pushed to the wayside but in times of stress, exercise can be a great way to calm the mind and body. Here’s some strategies you can utilize to get moving more:

Set a step goal

Set an attainable goal for yourself each day and slowly increase it over time.

Mix up where you walk

Take advantage of all the great places to walk near you. Whether it’s around your neighborhood, at a nearby park, or along the sidewalks of downtown, changing up the scenery can help keep you engaged and motivated.

Set the treadmill at an incline or utilize the interval function

If you have access to a treadmill, this can add an extra challenge to your walk. Doing this can increase calories burned and push your cardiovascular system.

Plan ahead: Schedule thirty minutes in your day to take a short walk

Finding time to exercise can be tricky. Putting aside a time in your day to walk can help you make sure you don’t leave it out.

Use a fitness trackers and apps

Fitness trackers like Fitbit and Garmin are great ways to track your daily steps and walks. For those who enjoy a little competition, many trackers have an option to complete step challenges against others. You can also download free apps to track your steps such as Pacer, Charity Miles, and MyFitnessPal.

Walk with friends or family

Finding a walking buddy can help you stay accountable and make walking more fun.

Take the stairs

The elevator is always a tempting option, but take the stairs when you have the chance! This will help strengthen and tone the muscles in your legs, while also challenging your cardiovascular system.

Take advantage of your lunch break

If you have a lunch break, take some time to get moving. Whether it’s walking in place in your office or laps around the building, walking is a great way to give your body a break from sitting.

Park your car far away

Parking near the back of a parking lot or down the street from your destination can help you work a few more minutes of walking into your day.

Special thanks to Kianna Cook, 2020 summer intern with the Alamance County Center, for collecting the content for this article!

Sources:

“5 Surprising Benefits of Walking.” Healthbeat, Harvard Health Publishing, 2018, www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/5-surprising-benefits-of-walking.

Abdelrahman, Amina Lake. “10 Best Step Counter Apps That Track Your Physical Activity.” Good Housekeeping, Good Housekeeping, 23 Aug. 2019, www.goodhousekeeping.com/health-products/g28778836/best-step-counter-pedometer-apps/.

Chertoff, Jane. “What are the Benefits of Walking?” Healthline, 8 Nov. 2018, https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-walking#burn-calories.

Rabbitt, Meghan. “How Walking Can Help You Lose Weight, Decrease Stress, and Lower Your Blood Pressure.” Prevention, 29 Jan. 2020, www.prevention.com/fitness/a20485587/benefits-from-walking-every-day/.