Ways to walk more to improve your health

All it takes is to increase the number of steps you take during your daily activities. Here are a few tips to get more walking into your life.

Ways to walk more to improve your health

Studies show that regular moderate walking can help you lose weight, reduce your risk of heart disease, reduce blood pressure and decrease cholesterol levels.

Once a week, complete errands on foot

  • If you live within a kilometre or two of downtown or the supermarket, start from your house.
  • If you live out in the middle of nowhere, drive to within walking distance of your destination and walk the rest of the way there and back.
  • You'll be surprised how much you can accomplish on foot and, even better, how many people you'll meet along the way.

Take your dog with you (or get a dog)

  • Once your dog gets used to your walks, he or she will look forward to them and give you a gentle nudge (or annoying whine) on the days you try to get out of it.
  • There's nothing more effective than a set of puppy-dog eyes to get you up off the couch and out the door.
  • In addition to walking locally, consider signing up for a dog agility class. During the class, you and your dog will circumvent a course with see-saws, hurdles, tunnels and other obstacles. (Your dog tackles the obstacles. You run or walk alongside and shout the appropriate command.) Both you and your dog will get a great workout and you'll end up with a better-behaved and calmer dog as a result.
  • If you don't have a dog, offer to walk a neighbour's dog twice a week. The commitment will keep you motivated.

Climb some stairs

Five times a day, climb up and down a flight of stairs for two minutes. You'll get the same heart rate-enhancing results in those 10 minutes as you would get from 36 minutes of walking on a level surface.

Shop in person instead of online

Walking around the mall can burn about 200 calories an hour, much more than the calories you'll burn sitting down surfing the Internet for great deals.

Walk and talk

  • Use a cordless phone and walk around the house or up and down the stairs as you chat with friends or conduct your business.
  • This is also a good way to make use of those long times spent on hold.
  • You get some heart-healthy exercise, and that exercise will help you to maintain your mental cool.
  • Use your pedometer to count your steps and you'll get the added bonus of feeling as if you have accomplished something rather than wasting time.
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