Busy schedules and cold weather can often keep you inside, and sometimes it’s just impossible to get the recommended amount of daily cardio. Regardless, the American Heart Association advocates for everyone to take 10,000 steps every day to improve health and decrease the risk of heart disease, the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also supports this movement towards walking more.
Get Moving without the Gym
Exercise of any form has many benefits, including increased energy (who over the age of 10 doesn’t need that?), lower stress levels and weight, better sleep, healthy hearts, and reduced risk of not only heart disease but also diabetes. You already know it—you just need to get moving!
These 10,000 daily steps add up to about five miles. That may sound like a lot, but it’s actually only about two minutes of walking an hour. Cutting it up that way makes it seem a lot more doable! For me, my 10,000 daily step goal started with a gift of a step tracker. I love mine and benefit from the competition and community around it. Others find their doctors recommending more daily activity and encourage the use of a pedometer to track progress. These devices are a great tool to help you track your fitness goals and your step count.
Ways to Get Walking
While you know the importance of your daily cardio and steps, it doesn’t make you any less busy. You can, however, still get moving without making a bunch of changes. Here are some ideas to get you moving and closer to your step goal:
- Propose walking meetings when presentations and computers aren’t required. Use a tablet or simple paper and pen to take notes.
- Get a dog, or find a friend with a dog and join their walks.
- Make walks around the neighborhood or a hike at a nearby park a normal family activity.
- Always take the stairs, not the elevator. (Steps are the ultimate free and practical exercise equipment.)
- Spend part of your lunch hour on a walk with a friend.
- Have a game of tag (with no breaks!) with your kiddos.
- Walk around your home while brushing your teeth.
- Always take the long way—to the bathroom at work, to the meeting, to the other end of the grocery.
- Ask if your office cluster could invest in a treadmill desk to share among your coworkers.
- Park in the back of the parking lot to force you to walk to the store.
Add in Quick, High Intensity Exercises
To keep your heart even healthier, add in some hard exercising to your daily cardio. In addition to your daily 10,000 step goal, set a time of the day when you will go as hard as you can for five or ten minutes. Do as many sit-ups as possible, 20 jumping jacks, lunges, planks, and so forth. Hit it hard, and know you’ll be done soon (and sweaty!). This may not be something you do on a break at work but maybe the first thing you do when you get home, right before you take a shower, or while your kids get ready for bed.
While it’s still important to try to get three to five exercise sessions a week, this can be a substitute or a quick bonus.
What’s your daily step goal? How do you get there? Tweet us your answers!
This article was brought to you by Tom’s of Maine. The views and opinions expressed by the author do not reflect the position of Tom’s of Maine.