How to Get The Most Out Of Your Daily Walk
While we often associate exercise with breaking a sweat or lifting weights, it’s really all about movement. In fact, low-impact exercises and a daily, 30-minute walk have astounding physical and mental health benefits.
Regular walking helps keep your heart healthy by improving circulation — which is shown to fight off heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and cancer. In one of the most persuasive studies, researchers found that people who walked at least 20 minutes a day for five days a week had 43 percent fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less. Plus, walking can even trim that stubborn belly fat.
Soaking up essential vitamin D while walking can also increase energy levels, reset your circadian rhythm for better quality sleep, and leave you feeling less stressed overall.
Whether you’re a walkstar or only walk out of necessity, here’s to get the most out of your daily walk.
Level Up Your Walk
One way to make your walk even more powerful is by walking in intervals, alternating brisk walking with more leisurely strides. This kind of interval training not only increases your heart rate and gives you a great dose of cardio, it also burns more calories. If you’re a beginner, start by switching paces every 15 seconds. As your endurance builds, work your way up to longer lengths of time.
Like many other fitness activities, posture while walking is everything. Rather than staring at the ground, look around you (which will also make your walk more interesting!), stand up straight in a relaxed rather than uptight pose, and make a concerted effort to tighten your core muscles and glutes to work these muscles during your stroll. Good technique goes a long way to make sure you’re maximizing the benefits of your walk.
Invite A Little Friendly Competition
A friendly competition never hurt anybody, especially when it comes to getting your fitness on. Tech gadgets like an Apple Watch or Fitbit allow you to see your friends’ fitness activity and compete directly as you complete fitness rings, but even the pedometer integrated into your phone’s Health app has social abilities. Add your family members or friends to compare how many miles you’ve walked for the week — and maybe squeeze in a few more steps to come out on top.
If you don’t have a competitive side, you can still make your walk a social one. Although walking can be a great solitary fitness activity and allow you to be alone with your thoughts, it doesn’t have to be. Call a long-distance friend or listen to a conversational podcast you’ve been looking forward to. Connecting with a loved one while you clock a mile or two is one of the best ways to strengthen friendships you’ve been neglecting.
Add Some Pep In Your Step
If you’re put off at the idea of another loop around the same old block, try jazzing up your daily walk. Rather than taking the same route around your neighborhood every day, explore a new, nearby walking trail with varied scenery before or after work.
Want to take more walks but work a 9-to-5 job? Take your meeting on the go, especially during one-on-one check-ins or if you are dialing into a Zoom line that you can be on “listening mode” for. Or, use your lunch break to get some fresh air and some steps in.
Depending on where you live and how you’re motivated, you can also make your stroll more interesting by adding in landmarks along the way. Rather than feeling like you are walking aimlessly, end your morning walk with an iced coffee at your favorite cafe or check out a local monument, statue, or art installation. When you walk with a destination in mind, it tends to go by faster!
And if you’re already an avid walker and have an adventurous edge, sign up to be a dog walker with Rover or try an app like CityStrides, which some power walkers use to help them track the streets they’ve already traversed on their way to the goal of walking single street in their city (literally).