Walking is the most natural form of exercise. It doesn’t require any equipment and can be practiced anywhere, anytime; all you need is a pair of comfortable shoes or sandals.
In our grandparents’ generation, everybody walked—it was the most common mode of transport. Today, with our sedentary lifestyles, we walk much less, favouring cars over our feet! But walking is great for your health and helps burn calories—around 130 every 30 minutes, if you power walk (for a person weighing 70 kg).
According to Kino-Québec, which promotes a physically active lifestyle, walking is an easy and accessible way to get the recommended 30 minutes of physical exercise every day. You can even walk in three blocks of 10 minutes and enjoy the same health benefits. Brisk walking, like any physical activity, can help improve your sleep, increase your energy, tone your muscles, reduce stress, strengthen your bones and reduce the risk of developing health problems such as hypertension, diabetes and osteoporosis. Physical activity, along with eating a healthy diet and making sure you get enough sleep, can help protect your body’s natural defences. So there are numerous benefits to walking regularly.
To reap the many rewards of walking, you should always walk at a good pace—enough to increase your heart rate and notice a difference in your breathing. You should power walk ideally four to five times per week. A good guideline is that you should be able to talk but not sing.
So how can you get motivated to walk every day?
- Buy a pedometer and aim to reach 10,000 steps per day.
- Find a partner to walk with on your lunch break or after dinner. Going on family walks is another good option, to encourage your kids to stay active as well.
- Park your car a few blocks from the office, or get off the bus or train a few stops before your destination.
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator when you can.
- If you need the motivation of a group, take a Nordic walking course, join a walking group or go on weekend-long hiking trips.
- Take your dog for a walk, several times a day if possible. This is a great way to combine business with pleasure!