Exercise Walking

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Stock_Carroll - Dog Walking Thom Carroll/for PhillyVoice

Walking dogs to a dog park near the Schuylkill River.

August 02, 2016

Add more steps to your day with these nine simple tips

The number of adults considered to be overweight or obese in the United States is staggering. Shockingly, two out of every three adults fall into on of these categories. Why is this statistic so high? It’s because people are consuming more calories than they are burning.

Fortunately, the number of Americans getting on their feet is rising. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention claims the number of people who walk regularly rose six percent between 2005 and 2010 — translating to roughly 20 million Americans. If we all do our part to encourage walking, we can help contribute to a healthier future for both ourselves and our communities.

Walking for 40 minutes each day can have a huge impact on your overall health. Ready to get started? Then try our top nine favorite walking tips today:

1. Hold a walking meeting

Walking meetings can introduce activity into a stagnant day in the office and provide untold health benefits. Transforming a meeting (or a lunch break) into a walking meeting can help the ideas flow and get your company on the right health track. Just a 10-minute walk can help chip away at the daily 30 minutes recommended by the American Heart Association.

2. Buy a pedometer

Devices that track your steps reframe how you think about walking and can better help you meet daily goals. Research from Stanford University has found that using a pedometer can encourage increased physical activity. Their trials also found that those who used pedometers increased their physical activity by 2,491 steps per day compared to participants who didn’t use them.

3. Park far away

Errands often entail driving to the mall or other big-box stores. Parking at the edge of the lot forces you to add those extra steps to your day, which after awhile significantly add up! Forcing productive habits like these can pave the way to a healthier lifestyle.

4. Take a walk after dinner

Taking a walk after you eat dinner is a nice way to bring your day to a close and can also aid in digestion. Even just a 15-minute walk after a big meal can speed the rate at which food moves through the stomach and help lower post-meal blood sugar levels.

5. Change-up your commute

If convenient, modifying your commute can help you insert more activity into your life. If possible, get up a little earlier so you can walk to work. Or, if you take public transportation, get off a stop earlier and walk the rest of the way. Simple changes like these can help boost your activity.

6. Pack comfortable shoes

You’re more likely to walk on your lunch break if you pack a pair of sneakers. Bringing your shoes with you will better motivate you to take a mind-clearing walk the next time you need to stretch your legs or take a break at work.

7. Walk your pet

Approximately 37-47 percent of all households in the United States own a dog, and taking your dog out for more then just a bathroom break can be mutually beneficial for both your pet and the number of steps you take. More than half the pets in the U.S. are overweight — your dog deserves a walk as much as you do.

8. Listen to podcasts or meditation tapes

Walking can become your sacred space; a chance to hear an interesting story from the likes of a great podcast, or to simply unwind with a soothing relaxation track. Whether you like to walk in the morning or late afternoon, carving out a time to hit the streets can boost your happiness and reduce your stress levels. Walking boosts endorphins, which in turn can help reduce hormones and symptoms of depression.

9. Walk with friends

Teaming up with a friend is a way to catch up and stretch your legs at the same time. Spending time with friends similarly improves your resilience to stress and can be a great way to discover new adventures. Set goals to explore a new town or park together and soon you’ll be creating memories and habits that last a lifetime.

Incorporate these tips into your daily routine and you’ll be reaching your walking goals in no time!