If you are looking at upping your exercise and don’t know where to start, begin with some small steps. An easy way to incorporate exercise into your life is walking. Grab yourself a Fitbit, small pedometer or use a fitness app on your smartphone, and start monitoring how many steps you do a day. Every step will count and make a difference and can burn those calories as well as benefit your health. Did you know that regular walking can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes and it can be done anywhere?
The recommended daily steps is 10,000, which can be harder to reach than you originally think, and Health Shield have a few tips to help you achieve that target. Remember to build up slowly and you’ll be surprised at how regular walking can impact your health and your weight. It is an achievable target, 10,000 steps is approximately 5 miles of walking, built up throughout the day it soon adds up.
Of course the first step is to invest in a device that can monitor your steps, you’ll also find they can tell you the distance you have walked and the calories burned too. Next you’ll need the most important thing – some suitable and comfortable footwear.
Pace is important. Don’t race around trying to get your 10,000 a day done in the morning as fast as you can. Monitor yourself over a few days to get your average and then start building up. It’s a wise idea to add 500–1,000 each day until you reach 10,000, especially if you are normally quite sedentary during the working day.
Building up is easy with some simple changes:
- Walk the kids to school – or at least stop a little further up the street than usual and walk the rest of the way.
- Park at the furthest point away from the supermarket as you can, you’ll pick up loads of additional steps.
- Even get off at a bus stop sooner and walk the rest of the way to work/home.
- Use the dog as your way of getting out and counting the steps. It’s exercise for you both.
- Whilst you’re at work, don’t pick up the phone or email a colleague, go see them at their desk instead.
- Take the stairs instead of the lift.
- Set your alarm clock 10 minutes earlier. Use the time to take a brisk walk around the block before you begin your day.
- Use your lunch break wisely – don’t just sit and waste time watching TV in the staff room – head outside and go for a stroll.
- If you sit at a desk for your day job, remember every hour to get up and just stroll around the office for a couple of minutes.
- Entertain yourself whilst walking, you’ll find you’ll go much further – take the family, a friend or just listen to some music.
- Try small walks throughout the day. An early morning stroll, 10 minutes around the building at lunch, 20 minutes after work and the same again after you’ve eaten your evening meal. Especially whilst the summer evenings are here, it’s the ideal time to get some fresh air and get those steps up too.
Once you are feeling comfortable with upping your steps and getting closer to the target 10,000 try building in some hills and pick up the pace. Once you are ready you can even incorporate some small dumbbells to your walk to burn some extra calories.
You can also look at some longer more interesting walks once you feel up to it, and cover a good distance around the local lake, or climb some local hills. You can go for as long or short as you like. Being healthy and active is a habit and has great benefits, so start making those changes in your life now.
If you are a Health Shield health cash plan member, you can get additional fitness tips from the online health assessments benefit if it is include on your plan. To view your plan please log in to the Health Shield Members’ Area, or for more information on health cash plans available visit the Health Shield website.