,

How Can You Add Walking to Your Life?

Image courtesy of photostock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today I’m going to give you a challenge. It’s a really simple challenge, but I know that doesn’t make it easy. I am currently growing an obsession with walking and limiting my “sitting time” every day. It is fascinating how much of our daily lives are spent sitting in a chair with our tailbones tucked underneath us (not ideal!) when our bodies are made to be standing and walking around. My current inspiration and role model,  biomechanist Katy Bowman, says every single human should be walking 3-5 miles everyday. I believe her. But I also believe myself and everyone else when we say it is an almost impossible task to add 3-5 miles of walking into our everyday life. Especially since this means literal walking. Not running. Not spinning. Not even walking on a treadmill or elliptical. Real, honest to goodness, walking outside allows you to utilize all of the muscles in your leg as they were meant to work, including your glutes and hamstrings which are almost impossible to use correctly on a treadmill or bike. Walking is natural movement that our human bodies need to be doing. Standing too. Sitting for the prolonged periods of time as most of us are these days is detrimental to our posture, joint health, cardiovascular health, and overall wellness. So we’ve got to start making a change, right? RIGHT!

I believe in baby steps. I believe that something is always better than nothing. So today I want you to challenge yourself to think of a few ways that you can add more standing and walking to your life. Start small. Don’t worry if you miss a day. Whatever you start doing helps! Here is a list of some easy ways to incorporate more walking and standing in to your life so you can spend more time out of your chairs!!

Take Calls Standing Up
If you’re in an office, or even at home on your couch, make a point to stand up and walk around a bit while you are on the phone. Even if you’re only on the phone once today. You will have used your  muscles to get up out of your chair, changed the alignment of your body, and begun a new habit.

Discover Your Walking Errands
I live in the city, I know that makes me lucky because I have coffee shops, drug stores, grocery stores, and restaurants within a mile of my house. But even at my parents house in the suburbs, the local drugstore was just two blocks away. Our favorite lunch spot was about a 5 minute walk. And we rarely walked there. Take a moment and think about what is close to your home or office. How far is the Tim Hortons where you grab your coffee? Or the bank where you deposit your check? Can you pick an errand that you can walk to? What if you walked to pick up your lunch? I’m not saying you have to walk 7 miles, but find something that’s doable for you. I bet you can think of something!

Make Friend Dates Active
Plans with my friends are almost always getting drinks, getting coffee, or having dinner. Anyone else feel the same way? It’s awesome. I love drinks and coffee and going out to dinner. But what if we added an option or two to our list of possible things to do with friends (or family). Next time you’re making plans, see if your friend would like to take a walk or hike. Even if it means going shopping or touring art galleries, I bet you can find a way to incorporate walking in to your date.

p.s. Please don’t wear heels to go shopping, gallery walking, or to explore the city. It doesn’t feel good for a reason!

Drink Water From a Smaller Bottle or Cup
You have a huge 1 liter bottle sitting on your desk at work so you make sure to stay hydrated throughout the day, right? I love that. But, you don’t have to get up and refill that bottle much do you? Try using a glass, mug, or smaller bottle instead so you have to fill it more frequently. The more often you can get yourself out of your chair and moving, the better. So take separate water and bathroom breaks to increase the frequency of your trips. And if you think someone at your office will have a problem with you getting up from your desk a bit more often, you can have them call me. I’ll yell.

Walk Around the Block Before Getting Into your Car or Home
This one may be my favorite because this is how I started to introduce walking in to my life and it took me less than 10 minutes. Ideally we’ll all be able to add more than 10 minutes of walking in to our lives but we’ve got to start somewhere! If you can’t possibly imagine making time in your schedule to take a walk, challenge yourself to walk around the block when you get home from work, before you even walk in the house. Maybe you can keep your sneakers in your car so you don’t even think about walking in the house before you’ve taken a brief walk. I will often walk out of the house completely ready to go, toss my bag into my car, keeping my keys and phone on me, and take a walk. Then I don’t even have to get back in the house and get ready, I just hop in my car and go about my day.

Stay Standing When You Get Home
A body in motion, stays in motion, right? I have noticed that if I sit down on the couch as soon as I get in the door and take my shoes off, I’m done. I’ve started to take care of the things that need to be done around the house (or at least some of them) as soon as I get home, so that I can stay moving a bit longer. Although I’m not a lover of cleaning, I’ll get the dishes done, or put away some laundry, sweep the kitchen, whatever it takes to just stay standing a bit longer before I give in to relaxing on the couch. Every little bit counts and the more you do it, the more natural it will feel. If you’re sitting down to chop vegetables for dinner, start there, stay standing!

Take up Hiking
This isn’t necessarily the simplest change to make, but it is incredibly rewarding. Even if you can only fit in a half mile, add a hike to your weekend plans. The weather is improving here in the Northeast and being outside to enjoy it will drastically improve your mood and overall health.

There you go! Seven ways that you can start adding a bit more standing and walking to your day. Remember, every little bit counts!! I would love to hear other ideas you may have or methods that have worked for you! Please share in the comments below or on our Facebook page!