Jul 9, 2019
Health Chatter: Walk more
Did you know that the UK population walks 1/3 less than we did 20 years ago? Walking is good for your physical & mental health, helping you burn calories and improving your heart health, as well as reducing your risk of depression. Not only that, it’s a free and easy way to work out, and doesn’t require any special equipment, just a pair of comfortable, supportive shoes.
To get the best health benefits from walking, you need to keep up a brisk pace - enough to raise your heart rate and make you sweat a little. As a rough guide, that’s around 3 miles an hour, or 100 steps a minute, although this is an average and your own fitness level will determine whether this is the right pace for you.
How to walk more every day
Be less efficient
We tend to find ways of doing things that involve the least possible effort, and miss out on those little bouts of activity that get us moving. Try some of these ideas…
- Park at the far end of the car park every time you go shopping to get some extra steps in
- Instead of struggling with a huge basket of washing , do two trips instead and enjoy the lighter loads
- Take the long way round if there are two routes to where you’re going
- Carry one bag at a time when bringing shopping in from the car so you do more back and forth trips
- Walk up and down the stairs a couple of times a day for no reason
- Walk to someone’s desk or house to talk to them instead of emailing or texting.
Set yourself goals
They don’t have to be huge, and you can build them up as you get into the habit. Challenge yourself to walk for 5 minutes more than usual each day for a week, or set yourself a daily or weekly step count. There are often national challenges you can join in with, and lots of free step tracking apps to keep count for you.
Make walking more fun
If you don’t naturally enjoy walking, there are ways to make it more interesting and enjoyable.
- Try listening to music, an audio book or podcasts while you walk - you might find you want to keep walking a little longer to listen a bit more
- Ask a friend to join you so you have some company, or join a walking group
- Take a camera and go on a hunt for spectacular views or interesting compositions
- Go on an adventure - there are beautiful walking routes available wherever you are in the UK. Go walking somewhere you’ve never been before and take time to appreciate and notice your surrounding.
Ditch the car and use your legs to travel shorter distances. Think about all the places you go each week and which of those you could walk to if you’re honest. Try your best, but be kind to yourself too - if it’s pouring with rain, or you’re running late, take the car and get back to walking next time.
Even 10 minutes more walking is beneficial if that’s all you have time for. You should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week - that’s just 30 mins each working day
Tips for walking more at work
- Hold walking meetings - ideal if there are just two or three of you
- Start a lunchtime walking group to keep each other motivated
- Use a photocopier or kettle on another floor or different part of the building
- Take the stairs instead of the lift
- Set an hourly reminder on your computer to go for a quick walk up and down the stairs
- March on the spot whilst waiting for the kettle to boil
- Park at the far end of the car park, or get off the bus one stop early
Our sources and for more information:
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