WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR DAILY WALK: We hear how important it is to exercise regularly, yet busy work schedules make it hard. However, getting it in is essential for optimum health and stress reduction. A little daily walk is the perfect method to do that, and it’s easy to squeeze in, even if you have to keep it close to your desk.
“Walking regularly is a great healthy habit — by taking steps to enjoy the walk, you’re more likely to keep it up, which is better for your mind, heart, and body,” says Austin Regional Clinic internal medicine physician Chau Nguyen. “Walking 30 minutes, five days a week is recommended for heart health.”
WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR DAILY WALK
1. Stretch it all out before you get going
“A good way to start your walk is by stretching your back every morning, including neck, shoulders and hips,” says Dr. Nguyen. “Doing so will help you get ready for your morning walk and prevent aches and pains.”
2. Take a mini-walk several times a day
If your work requires you to sit for prolonged periods during the day, make sure to stand, stretch and take a quick 30-second walk about every 30 to 60 minutes. “[Extra movement is] good for your body and will help you add more steps during the day.
3. Incorporate good music into your walk
Listening to music is something that can easily make your walk more enjoyable, whether it’s your favourite artist or something more relaxing like white noise with nature sounds.
4. Explore a new route and get in touch with nature
If you have the option, becoming one with the outdoors can be a great way to make your walk more exciting. You can do this by exploring a new-to-you park or trail and getting in a short hike if you need to mix things up from your usual walk around the block.
5. Make sure to hydrate
It’s true that you don’t need a lot to go for a walk and it can be as simple as just getting up from your desk and heading out the door for a few minutes. But packing a bottle of water (bonus points if it’s spruced up with some lemon or is even sparkling) is key for ensuring you’re well hydrated and can keep your walk enjoyable, especially in warmer months.
6. Change into actual workout clothes
Yes, it’ll add some extra time that may seem like a drag at first, but changing into comfortable clothing can make all the difference when it comes to getting in the right mindset for a walk. Feeling good about what you’re wearing may lead you to go a little further or add some pep to your step too.
7. Make it a strength session combo
If you want to break more of a sweat during your walking session, adding weights is a great way to do that while also building strength. “If you’d like to go the extra mile (pun intended) — adding some light weights as tolerated can also be beneficial for bone health.
8. Or make it a power walk
Increasing the pace and intensity of your walk is another way to boost cardiovascular impact. Before you know it, you may feel ready to upgrade your endorphin high with a jog.