Walk for better health
Want an easy and cheap way to get fit this year? Take a power walk! Regular brisk walks can help you lose weight as well as prevent chronic ailments like heart disease, diabetes and stroke. In addition, walking is a great way to "go green," can help you decrease your daily stress levels, and can be done no matter your age or fitness level.
10,000 steps rule
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), you should take at least 10,000 steps a day to reap the many benefits of walking. That's about five miles – far less steps than the average sedentary person takes a day, so says The Walking Site, a comprehensive online resource for walkers. Here's how to get more walking mileage into your day.
Walking tip #1: Walk whenever you can
Got errands? Forget the car and hoof it to whatever destinations are within walking distance. You'll burn about 60 calories in just 15 minutes of moderate walking (about 70 if you step it up to a brisk pace). Also opt to take the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator, or park at the back of the lot at your grocery store or mall and take advantage of the added distance. May seem like a meaningless move, but those extra steps will definitely add up.
Walking tip #2: Get a pedometer
You may be walking more than you think. Keep track of all of those steps you take with a low-cost pedometer. Proof that a pedometer works: A recent study by Stanford University reports that people who use pedometers and set daily step goals walk significantly more than people who don't.
Walking tip #3: Move to the music
Research shows that medium-tempo music can keep you motivated throughout your walk. So when you get ready to walk, pop in your headphones and tune into your favorite playlist. (Try one of these 10 workout playlists.) Or, try a podcast workout and get a trainer's advice and instruction along with your tunes.
Walking tip #4: Get a group
Just as good friends help you get through the toughest times, they can assist you in plowing through a tough workout, too. Even if you meet just once a week, that's more motivation than you'll have if you step solo. So grab a pal – or two – and start up a walking group. Keep in mind that co-workers and neighbors also make great walking buddies so be on the look out for new partners whenever you're walking.
Walking tip #5: Walk for a cause
Want to walk for a difference? Check out charity walks, like The Breast Cancer 3 Day, a 60-mile walk over three days that raises money for breast cancer research. And be sure to check out The Walking Site for more events throughout the year.
Walking is a low-impact way to burn calories, tone your muscles, improve your cardiovascular health and reduce your risk of chronic diseases. This convenient form of exercise can be done anywhere, anytime and only requires a pair of comfortable, supportive walking shoes. So get up and get walking.