You don’t a need gym membership or a bulky exercise machine in your basement to stay active. Walking costs you nothing, and research has shown that doing it for as little as 30 minutes a day can have a positive impact on your health. If you don’t think you have time to fit that goal into your schedule, these tips should convince you otherwise.
1. Take the stairs.
Instead of cramming into your office’s crowded elevator at 8:55 every morning, you could use the journey to your desk as an opportunity to get some exercise. If your destination is on the second or third floor of the building there’s no excuse not to take the stairs. And if you live or work a little higher up and break a sweat on the way there, even better.
2. Take the scenic route.
The fastest path between point A and point B isn’t always the route worth taking. If you have time to spare, add some more steps to your travels by finding a different way to get to where you’re going. In addition to fitting more activity into your day, you might discover new parts of your neighborhood you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.
3. Park far away.
Walking to work or the grocery store isn’t always a possibility. For those occasions when you’re forced to take a car, make the effort to squeeze a few steps into your trip by parking down the block or at the far end of the parking lot. What amounts to five or ten minutes of extra time on your feet will help you get that much closer to your daily goal.
4. Opt for public transit.
One easy way to trick yourself into walking more is by taking public transit. Unlike cars, which take you directly to where you’re going, trains and buses aren’t always so convenient. The fact that the closest bus stop to your apartment is four blocks away may seem like a burden, but it can end up benefiting you in the long run. A study published earlier this year found that commuters who took public transit weighed less and had lower BMIs than those who drove.
5. Take an active break.
If you have a job that requires you to sit all day, your breaks are the perfect time to get moving. Staying in one spot isn’t the only way to relax. By practicing walking meditation during your time out of the office, you can help calm your hectic thoughts while getting in some light exercise at the same time.
6. Find a dog to walk.
Dog-owners have the perfect excuse to get out of the house and move their feet each day. Regular walks are a great way to keep both you and your pooch healthy and happy, so consider taking over the dog-walking responsibilities in your household if you haven’t done so already. If you don’t have a dog of your own, you can make some extra cash by walking dogs in your area, or donate your time free of charge to the local animal shelter.
7. Walk in place while you wait.
Whenever you find yourself waiting for something–whether it’s a preheating oven, a buffering movie stream, or a friend who still hasn’t texted back–pass the time by pacing. You don’t need to go outside in order to boost your step count. Either stay where you are and step in place or pace back in forth across the room to turn your free time into exercise.
8. Make it a habit.
Like any type of exercise, the best way to make walking a consistent part of your life is to make a habit of it. If you’re an early-riser, trying starting your morning with a quick walk around the block while the rest of the neighborhood is still asleep. Daily walks can also work as an evening activity–after dinner, burn off those calories by going on a solitary stroll, or ask your loved ones to join you.
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