Walking is a great way to take exercise - and that's something that more and more people are becoming aware of. It would be a big mistake to write off walking just because it isn't a high impact, high intensity workout.
In fact, it's precisely because walking is a low impact, low intensity and low injury risk mode of exercise that it is such a great exercise solution for many people. A lot of people who may not be able to indulge in high intensity exercise programs, even if they wanted to, will be more than capable of walking on a regular basis.
It seems to be generally agreed by health and fitness experts that, in order to maximize the benefits of a walking exercise regime, we should be aiming to take 10,000 steps every day. For someone with an average stride length, that's going to be somewhere between four and a half and five miles.
It sounds like a long way when you say it like that - but achieving your 10,000 step target is a whole lot easier than you think. Don't forget, even people who lead a fairly sedentary life will take between 2,000 and 3,000 steps - and they all count.
If you can make time to fit a nice long walk into your daily routine then that's great. Walking for 45 minutes to an hour each day will be quite enough for most people. However, if that's difficult for you then don't worry, you can reach your 10,000 step target in a number of shorter segments if you wish.
For example, leaving the car at home and walking to work would be a great start for many people. If that's not practical for you, then there are plenty of other ways to boost your total number of steps. Take the car to your destination - and don't feel guilty about it! Just park further away than normal and then you will have further to walk to reach your destination.
If you work in an office, instead of sending an e-mail, get up and walk to the person you want to communicate with. You'll get a little exercise and your co-workers will find you more sociable. Instead of taking the elevator, use the stairs from time to time. Instead of sitting at your desk at lunchtime, go for a short walk.
If you use the bus or the subway on a regular basis then get off one or two stops early. Finish your journey on foot - and do the same on the return leg.
Even something as simple as walking about while you're talking on your cellphone can add 1,000 to 1,500 steps to your daily total. It's a lot easier than you think.
If you do decide to fit your walking exercise in using these "bite sized portions" throughout the day, you will get exactly the same benefits that you would get from a nice long walk. It might be difficult to keep track of your walking activity however, so consider getting yourself a digital pedometer.
A pedometer will help you to keep track of how many steps you take each day. You can also monitor how many calories you burn and how much distance you cover. It's a great way to stay motivated - and, as mentioned earlier, you will probably be surprised to find just how easy it is to fit in those magic 10,000 steps.
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