Taking Strides to a Healthier You

Author : Strive Health

Physical activity does not always need to be in the form of going to the gym, group fitness classes or running a marathon. According to Mayo Clinic, regular brisk walking can help with weight management, lower risk for chronic disease, strengthen your bones and muscles, increase energy levels, strengthen your immune system and improve your mood, cognition, memory and sleep.

The average person walks 3,000-4,000 steps a day. If you have a pedometer, smart phone or smart watch, you can track your steps. The recommended daily goal is 10,000 steps, which is approximately five miles. To increase your daily steps, set a goal higher than your current average, maintain the step increase for a week until you are comfortable with it and then continue to make slight step increases to get to 10,000 steps.

Here are some ways you can easily increase your steps:

  • Park farther away. Don’t drive around looking for one of the first two parking spots near the door, instead park farther away.
  • Miss your stop. Walk or ride a block or two farther from your usual bus or train stop.
  • Window shop. At the mall or any store, walk around and try to make a complete lap before stopping to purchase anything.
  • Keep going. If your home or place of work has additional restrooms, walk to one that is farther away from your location.
  • Take the steps. Instead of using an elevator or escalator, take the stairs. If you don’t think you can go the entire distance all at once, work up to it. Start with small increments and take one flight at a time.
  • Get out of your chair. Pace while talking on the phone or thinking. If you’re working in an office, instead of sending an e-mail or calling or texting someone, walk over to speak with them.
  • Walk during your children’s activities. During their practices, walk around the park or track. Instead of sitting down during their game, if possible, pace along the sideline cheering them on along the way.
  • Walking lunch. Plan a walk during part of your break. If it’s difficult to get the entire 30-45 minutes at one time, divide it up into increments throughout the day. Grab those walking shoes, make a playlist or download an audiobook, find an enjoyable walking space, and have fun!

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