Walking is a simple and effective way to improve your health and well-being. It’s one of the best exercises you can do, particularly if you have been inactive or are overweight. It strengthens the muscles in your legs and back, helps control weight, supports mental function, reduces stress, and can add years to your life. Walk exercise gives you an all-over body workout, increases your endurance, and keeps your muscles flexible.
Put down that doughnut and start walking! Okay, there’s no need to roll your eyes at me. I know it sounds a little cheesy, but really: As you get older, it becomes even more important to walk for an hour each day. And if you make a few simple changes to your schedule, you can easily work it into your day.
Read on for 10 ways to begin incorporating an even healthier lifestyle…
- Find some time. This is the hardest part of making this change. But think about it: If you don’t carve out some time for this, you’ll likely continue to use your greatest excuse: lack of time.
- Keep it simple. First, try to add just 15 minutes to each day for a week, then bump it up to 30 minutes for the next week and so on until you reach an hour (give or take). After that, see if you can squeeze in another 10 minutes here and there. If you make it too complicated, you’ll probably get frustrated and quit altogether.
- Do your walking at home. If the weather prevents this, try walking in an indoor mall with regular stops to window shop (and maybe even visit a few stores). This can be especially fun if you like to window-shop online!
- Map out your route beforehand. This trick will help prevent you from wasting time and staying on track with your walking goals.
- Get some company or make new friends. This can be tough for some people, but others might not even think about asking someone they know to join them in their daily walk — and we all know most people are looking for ways to stay active.
- Look into walking programs. Some employers offer discounted gym memberships that include walking groups, yoga classes, and the like… so why not take advantage? This isn’t just a good way to reduce stress, but also meet new people with similar interests. And who knows, you might even inspire some coworkers to join you on your walks!
- Try dancing. If it’s more fun, you’re more likely to do it — and doing some hip-hop moves after dinner might just inspire the kids to dance with you as well. A little “Cupid Shuffle” for 15 minutes can go a long way… and maybe even lead to some fun family time together on the dance floor!
- Make it more challenging. If you keep the same pace for your daily walk, even adding more minutes won’t make much of a difference. So, mix it up by walking more briskly sometimes and speeding up your pace when you get in the zone.
- Change directions. If you walk in circles, this will make your route longer and provide some variety. So instead of always walking out one door and coming back the same way, try to exit another door (or even go around a building if there’s no other access).
- Take a look at your schedule. Are you going to bed too late? Are you sitting too long at work? These might be reasons why you’re not getting enough exercise — and making a few adjustments to your routine is very doable!
There is no “best” exercise, but walking is one of the easiest to do and can help you lose weight, stay fit and reduce stress. Also, as you get older it becomes even more important to keep active because your balance, coordination, and ability to fight off infections can all be affected by inactivity. So start now — before those health risks become a reality.