Walking is a great form of exercise for a couple of reasons. One, you don’t need any equipment, although we’ll talk about one device you should use. Two, you can do it just about anywhere. These two reasons make it a great type of exercise to do when traveling – you don’t have to tote around a bunch of equipment.
If the weather is nice, walking outside is the best for you. Getting your vitamin D from the sun, breathing in fresh air, listening to the birds singing are all reasons why walking outside is good. An if the weather is bad, take your walk inside to either a mall or fitness center.
But a question often asked is “How many steps do I need to walk every day to stay healthy and lose weight?” In America, the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week.
Most of us do not walk nearly enough due to our sedentary lifestyle. According to the UK’s National Health Service, most Brits walk on average between 3,000 and 4,000 steps per day; it is even worse in the U.S. at about 2,300 to 3,000 steps per day.
Walking an hour at 5 mph (5 miles or 9 kilometers) equates to approximately 10,000 steps. Do this for five days and you’ll burn off enough calories to have lost a pound during that week – provided you ate healthy and watched your calorie intake. You can’t out exercise a bad calorie-laden diet. Increase the intensity by walking faster, swinging your arms, etc. and you’ll burn even more calories.
But unless you measure out a 5-mile route and time your walk, how do you know you are walking at least 10,000 steps? This is where a step-measuring device can help you. They range from a simple pedometer that only measures the number of steps taken to the new fitness trackers that not only measures steps, but the number of calories burned, calories eaten and a whole host of other data.
One common excuse many people use in today’s world is they don’t have the time. There are some “tricks” used by many people to get in their steps without having to expend much more time. If you drive to work, park at the far end of the parking lot and walk in to work. If you take public transportation, get off a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way. Once in your office building, take the stairs for a few flights instead of the elevator. During your lunch break, strap on your walking shoes and take a walk leaving just enough time to eat your healthy brown bag. If you are wearing a pedometer or fitness tracker, you’ll see how these tactics add to your daily step count. Finish off your 10,000 steps with a walk after the evening meal.
There are so many healthy reasons to walk besides losing weight that you are doing yourself a disservice if you are not getting in your daily number of steps. Hit your goal each day and reap the advantages of walking.