Walking: 20 Ways to Add Steps to Your Day
We all know it’s smart to keep active. Many of us are already trying to work out when we can, we might be avid runners or enthusiastic members of sports teams. We are reaping the rewards of better health and perhaps even losing a few pounds as we keep moving. But what about those who feel too busy to commit to anything? What if you haven’t started yet, aren’t sure what to do and don’t feel you can run or work out regularly?
We’ve all been there. Most of us started there.
Here’s the secret and the best part is you already know what to do and how to do it. Forget about the excuses you used from October to March. It’s not too cold outside, there is no ice on the sidewalks. Get out of your sedentary winter ways, get up and just start walking. You can get yourself moving toward more activity as you feel more energetic – walking can be a great lifetime habit or a stepping stone to more.
Here are some easy ways to sneak in steps, change sedentary habits and welcome more walking into your daily life. Remember, if you can add it to your routine, it will happen regularly without a lot of thought. So look at how you get places, where you go, what you do, who you are with and try out some of these ideas:
1. Walk to drop off and pick up your kids from the bus or school
2. Walk for the mail if you have a shared mailbox
3. Walk to the store if you’ve run out of milk or bread
4. Park at the far end of the parking lot at the mall
5. Meetings – why not ask someone to join you for a walk while you discuss items at hand? Would your office mates want to do this on occasion, or regularly?
6. Take the stairs whenever possible – yes, at work, at a hotel, in an apartment building, in the mall
7. Start a family walk after dinner habit to get everyone more exercise. Or sneak out after your kids are asleep for a 30 minute walk a few times a week
8. Can you walk to work a few times a week? Carpool or take public transit there and walk home?
9. If you arrive early anywhere, instead of sitting in your car for fifteen minutes, get out and walk around the block or window shop
10. Take comfortable shoes with you to work, and sneak a walk in during each lunch break
11. Try shopping in neighbourhoods that have great street shopping. Wander up and down the street and get some extra steps while you shop and browse
12. Buy a pedometer and challenge yourself to hit a certain number of steps per day (5000, 7500, 10,000)
13. Walk to the park when your kids ask to go, don’t drive there
14. Meet your friends for a walk and chat instead of drinks in the evenings
15. See if you can add steps to an activity you already do. Can you skip the golf cart? Walk to the field where you play soccer?
16. When you take your kids to the park, if they are old enough to play with you just nearby, do a couple of laps of the park greenspace or field while they play. You’ll see and hear them if there’s a problem, but much better than being on a bench!
17. If your kids are younger, have races with them on the grass. Or just tell them to try to catch you and run. They’ll chase you, you’ll all get more exercise and they’ll be extra tired at bedtime
18. If someone suggests meeting for coffee, ask if they’d like to meet for a walk in a nearby greenspace, by a river, or at a local attraction instead
19. Make a list of all the walking trails in your city and surrounding areas. Put it on the fridge and pick one to visit each weekend as a family
20. Planning summer vacation time? Going away for the weekend? Look for walking or hiking trails near where you are staying. It’s a great way to get some fresh air and see more of where you are visiting
Do you make an effort to walk instead of drive? Have you changed your habits recently to add steps to your days? We’d love to hear your secrets and successes!