Walking is one of the best ways to meet your exercise goals. It doesn’t require any special equipment, and nearly everyone can do it.
But Americans still aren’t walking. Less than 25% of American adults walk more than 10 minutes continuously in a week, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. If you don’t walk enough, you’re missing out on great health benefits: walking can help lower blood pressure and increase bone strength.
Luckily, you can make walking part of your daily life without too much effort. Try these 10 simple strategies to take more steps each day.
1. Walk at home
“If you aren’t able to walk during your day, pop in a walking DVD, and walk in your living room for 10 to 15 minutes,” says Jessica Smith, a personal trainer and creator of the Walking for Weight Loss, Wellness, and Energy DVD. You can also find free walking workouts on youtube.com.
2. Make all calls mobile
“Make a pact with yourself that every call you take will be mobile—literally,” Smith says. “Pace in place or walk around while you chat.”
3. Take a lap to tidy
Cleaning house? Why not take a couple of laps all the way around, stopping in each room to straighten up? You’ll be able to cross a chore off your to-do list and burn calories, too.
4. Shop to drop
Each everyday errand is an opportunity to move more. “If you are grocery shopping, take one or two laps around the outer aisles of the store before you grab a cart or basket,” Smith says. “You can scope out sales items and create a plan for more efficient shopping while sneaking in some extra steps.”
5. Stand in the stands
Don’t let your children’s healthy activities get in the way of yours. Watching a game? Find some empty bleachers. “Cheer on the team by pacing in the stands instead of sitting,” Smith says. “You’ll offer more positive energy.” If you’re waiting at practice, walk up and down the sidelines.
6. Opt for face-to-face time
When you can, skip email, text, and instant message at work. Instead, chat with your coworkers the old-fashioned way. “Get up, walk to their desk, ask your questions, and walk back,” Smith says.
7. Step to your meeting
Have to be at a meeting in 10 minutes? Don’t wait until the last minute to go. “Leave now, and take a longer route there,” Smith says.
8. Pace as you wait
Whether you’re making copies at the office or waiting for a load of laundry to get done at home, walk around while you wait. Small space? Just march in place.
9. Take the stairs
Skip elevators when you can, and take the stairs instead. You can start off easy. This week, walk up or down just one flight of stairs, then take the elevator the rest of the way. Next week, try to walk up or down two flights of stairs, and so on.
10. Trek around town
Have a wide-open weekend? Why not head to a different part of town, and check it out on foot. You never know what you’ll discover walking that you might miss when traveling on four wheels.
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