Walk your way to a healthier heart. All you have to do is take that first step.
As one of the few, low-impact activities around, walking is easy to start and is fairly low risk for injury. Besides this, walking has also been proven to be effective at reducing your risk for cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and other serious diseases.
6 Creative Ways to Walk More
#1 – Grab a friend.
Exercise is sometimes more fun when you make it social. Agree to meet a friend for an afternoon walk, or consider joining a Meetup group of avid walkers. When you know that you’re meeting up with someone, it can make you more accountable and less likely to bail on exercise.
#2 – Walk the dog.
Instead of letting your dog run around in the backyard by itself – why not break up the routine? Take your dog for a 5-10 minute walk around the neighborhood, or go out in the backyard and play with your dog for a few minutes. Even a few minutes of activity is better than nothing!
#3 – Park further away.
Heading to the grocery store? the mall? Park your car further away than you normally would. It’s amazing how just those few extra steps can make all the difference! Besides this, you’ll probably have an easier time finding parking than you would if you parked closer.
#4 – Walk around the parking lot at work.
Set a clock, and make sure you take regular breaks at work. Aim for taking a 5-minute break every hour. Bring a comfortable pair of running shoes or walking shoes and step outside for one of your breaks to walk around the parking lot for 5-10 minutes. The fresh air and exercise will make you feel refreshed by the time you sit back down at your desk.
#5 – Go shopping.
Even if you’re window shopping, heading to the mall or some other shopping center can actually be beneficial. Believe it or not, you do actually burn calories as you’re walking from store to store, browsing through store items.
#6 – Take the stairs.
Every now and then, opt for the stairs versus an elevator or escalator. Work on the first floor of your office building? No problem. During a few of your breaks throughout the day, walk up and down the stairs a few times to get a little extra exercise. Your body will thank you later!
Walk More To…
- Burn calories
- Lower blood pressure
- Lose weight
- Improve your breathing
- Improve muscle strength and tone
- Get a great cardiovascular workout
- Improve your mood (through the release of endorphins)
- Improve your concentration
- Engage in a low-impact, safe activity
- Improve your posture
- Improve your circulation
- Reduce your risk for other, more serious diseases/medical conditions
- Improve your emotional health & well being
- Be more social (i.e. Bring a friend!)
The American Heart Association Recommends…
Adults should aim for 150 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. [source]
Learn more about how to improve your heart health throughout the month. Check out our Young At Heart page on our website for ideas and tips for living life ‘young at heart’.
Stay Safe When Walking
Stay safer when walking alone or with a friend. Here’s how:
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Keep walkways and paths around your home well-lit and neatly landscaped.
- Keep your keys ready if walking from the gym door to your car. Eliminate any chances for fumbling around in a bag or looking for your keys.
- Avoid exercising alone when it’s dark outside. If you do exercise outside, choose routes that are well lit, and meet up with a friend, if possible.
- Know how to react if something does happen. It may be helpful to take a self-defense class or practice self-defense moves on your own.
- Avoid exercising with earbuds in your ears. Unless you’re at the gym, you should avoid listening to music when exercising outside. It makes you less aware of your surroundings and may prevent you from hearing what is going on around you.