The surge in popularity of high-intensity workout programs might make it seem obsolete, but walking remains an effective and completely respectable form of exercise.
The problem with walking is that many of us don’t achieve the American Heart Association-recommended 10,000 steps per day. Today is the day that this trend ends, though. We’ve gathered 20 of the best ways to incorporate walking into your daily routine, and to simply get walking more! Don’t expect to find tips like “take the stairs” or “park far away from the store entrance,” either: These creative tips won’t seem like a chore. Having fun while exercising? Where do we sign up?
1. Buy New Shoes
This tip is mainly a fun one since it involves buying a new pair of shoes. However, a comfortable pair of sneakers will make your quest to walk a more comfortable journey. Without achy feet, you won’t have any reason to stall in your efforts.
2. Walk and Talk Rather than sink into your favorite recliner, take your next phone call on foot. Walk around the house or the neighborhood while you catch up with friends or family and time will fly as steps add up.
3. Get Off Early This might not work if you take a commuter train or another form of high-speed, no-stop public transit to work. If you take the bus, metro or tram, though, you could get off a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way to the office. As an added bonus, the extra steps will not only help you get walking more, it will wake you up and refresh you before you start working.
4. Take Meetings to Go You’ll have to find a co-worker who likes to walk, too, but you can take your next catch-up conference on foot. You’ll both feel better having walked, and some people believe that walking meetings make participants more productive.
5. No More Emails OK, that might be extreme, but cutting out some email correspondence can help you get walking more. How? Just walk to your co-worker’s desk to have a conversation that you would normally have over the computer.
6. Try a New Route Perhaps you always walk to the same café every weekend. This upcoming Saturday, try finding a new way there. You’ll probably add a few extra steps to your normal routine, and even better, you might discover a fun new spot to try or a new street that you want to explore.
7. Window Shop Most cities have that one street of high-end shops where the clothes, bags and shoes are a bit out of the average buyer’s price range. Take an afternoon to stroll around and admire the window displays. You might even find a must-have item that you’ll want to walk by and admire until you’ve saved enough to buy it.
8. Become a Delivery Person Rather than ask the restaurant to bring your food to you, you can add steps by walking to pick it up. You will probably save a few bucks on delivery fees, too.
9. Sound the Alarm Most office environments don’t give us many opportunities to get up and move around, so make them for yourself. Set a desktop reminder or cell phone alarm so you remember to get up every couple of hours to make a few laps around the office.
10. Do a Lap at the Grocery Store Before you grab a cart, get walking more around the grocery store. If it’s your first time, you’ll be able to see where everything is; if you know the store like the back of your hand, you’ll add a few hundred steps to your daily tally. The same goes for the local mall.
11. Take Virtual Steps Active video games like the ones available for the Nintendo Wii will have you moving all around while you’re playing. It’s the perfect way to get your steps on a rainy day.
12. After-Dinner Walk With all of the family gathered around the table for dinner, it’ll be easy for all of you to get more steps if you take a walk immediately after finishing. It’s a much better way to help your meal digest than by plopping down in front of the TV.
13. Make a Commercial March During the commercial break of your favorite show, march in place or walk around the house. Everyone knows that the ads are boring, anyway.
14. Pick a Podcast There are plenty of free and interesting podcasts available for free download. Find one you like and listen to it while you walk the neighborhood or the local park.
15. Motivate Yourself With New Music Like a podcast, a new album can motivate you to get walking more so that you have an excuse to listen. Music ups the ante, though, as fast-paced beats will inspire you to walk a little bit quicker.
16. Make a Day of It Use your new walking habit as a reason to explore the city where you live, as well as cities nearby. You can head to the beach, mountains, local parks or metropolitan areas on the weekend and get plenty of steps in.
17. Walk While You Wait Whether your doctor is running late, your child is in a swim lesson or your friend is stuck in traffic before your dinner date, you know how to fill the time: Take a lap around the block.
18. Sign up for a Local Walking Event Perhaps a charity 5K is coming up in your town. You’ll be surrounded by fellow walkers, so you’ll certainly feel inspired by the camaraderie. As if that’s not enough, you’ll be helping a local charity, too. Everyone wins!
19. Keep It Clean There is something fun about chores: They can help you break a sweat! Try and make your next vacuuming session more fruitful by moving a bit quicker to get your heart rate up and your steps in. The same goes for sweeping, mopping, dusting … a house-cleaning session can get sweaty in the best way possible.
20. Get a Bit more Fit with Fitbit Perhaps the best way to get more steps is to track your progress. As you see the number of steps slowly rise, you’ll be motivated to get out there and achieve your 10,000-step goal. You might just find yourself striving for 11K, 12K or 20K. The sky – or the sidewalk – is the limit.
(main photo source: lolitaabrahamfashion.com)
About the Author: Sarah Landrum