How did your fitness goals work out for you in 2015? Did you reach your target weight, get more limber and find some peace of mind through deep breathing? If so, you have a lot to celebrate. If you didn’t quite reach your goals, or if you’re just starting to think about setting goals now, there’s one single exercise that will form the foundation of good health in the new year: walking. It’s free, it’s simple and you can do it wherever you are.
Walking improves boosts your mood, improves circulation and can even sharpen your
memory. It helps you live longer and keeps you flexible. You can make the most of every step with some high-quality insoles, which support your feet and your posture. Here are some tips to increase the quality and quantity of the steps you take in the new year.
Walk to unplug. As long as you’re thinking about goals for the new year, why not add “live a less stressful life” to your list? Walking can give you
the opportunity to “unplug” for 10 or 20 minutes a day—but only if you leave your devices behind. How often do you see people hunched over a phone as they walk? Here’s a challenge: leave your phone and iPod behind. Just walk. For thousands of years, people have enjoyed walking without music plugged into their ears, and without texting or—total gaffe—posting “I’m out for a walk” on a social network! Let your friends wonder where you are when you don’t check in for an hour or so… it will build intrigue.
Walk with your family. Before television (and long before the Internet), families typically took walks after dinner. Walking after eating is good for digestion, and it’s a great way to spend time together. It’s never too early to use Spenco insoles in your kids’ shoes, and it can save money on expensive sports shoes.
Walk during the workday. Incorporate a walk into each workday. Walking gives you time alone—a precious commodity in our wired world. Ten minutes of walking will pay dividends as it helps you clear your mind and be more effective when you return to your desk. Twenty minutes is even better—that’s five miles a week.
Hold “walking meetings.” Once you’ve cleared your mind by taking a solo walk, you can add some walking into your day by holding “walking meetings.” Some powerful CEOs are going with this trend, and finding these moving meetings more effective than sitting around a conference room. (Plus, there’s no plate of bagels in a walking meeting.)
Keep a walking journal. This year, get a sense of how many steps you take each week. You can use a FitBit, a pedometer, or paper and a pencil to record how much time you spent walking each day. After you’ve tracked your walking for a few weeks, set goals to increase the amount of time you spend walking and your pace.
There’s a movement afoot (love a good pun!) to encourage people to take 10,000 steps a day. That’s a great long-term goal. In the meantime, every step counts. What’s most important is to get started.