Walking every day is a simple, free and convenient way to get fit and live a healthier lifestyle.
All ages and fitness levels can reap the rewards of walking, which include:
- Lose weight and maintain a healthy weight
- Strengthen your heart and lungs
- Strengthen bones and muscles
- Reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and even breast cancer
- Prevent or manage conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes
- Improve joint and muscle pain and stiffness (some studies have even found that walking 8km a week can prevent arthritis)
- Improve balance
- Improve mood and reduce anxiety and depression
- It’s a more effective (and healthier) energy boost than grabbing a cup of coffee
- Curb your sugar cravings – even just a 15-minute walk can help with this!
Bonus: Walking can even help boost your immune system – 1,000 adults were tracked during cold and flu season – those who walked for at least 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week, had 43% fewer sick days. If they did get sick, their symptoms were lessened and they weren’t sick for as long as those in the study who were sedentary.
“Walk This Way”
Most of us don’t get anywhere near the 10,000 steps a day we should be taking.
That sounds like a lot, but doing so ensures we reach the 30 minutes of physical activity the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP) recommends adults exercise for each day.
Some tips to help motivate you:
- Wear a pedometer like Fitbit, or use an app that tracks progress so you know where to improve and to use as inspiration as you meet your goals
- Make it fun by walking with a friend, or join a walking group
Make sure you walk with good posture – shoulders back, head up, back straight. Walk slower at the beginning and end of each walk to warm up and cool down.
Varying where you walk for a change of scenery and terrain can also help keep things interesting:
- Always park farther away, or if you take the train or bus, get off one stop early
- Walk around the mall on cold days – don’t worry, you’ll be walking too fast to stop and go shopping!
- Use a treadmill and put it on an incline
- Take different paths in different parks or parts of your city
- Sometimes choose hilly paths or sidewalks
- Always take the stairs
The Path to Success
Remember to start small to set yourself up for success.
Committing to walking at the same time every day will help it become a habit; then set a new goal, like adding an extra 5 minutes each day until you reach 10,000 steps.
And remember to congratulate yourself when you reach your goals, and set new ones!