Take a moment and ask yourself a simple question:
How many hours, per day, do I spend sitting?
If you’re like most Americans, the answer to that question might be a sobering one. According to a recent study by National Physical Activity Plan Alliance (NPAPA), American adults receive a “C” grade for adult walking behavior. Of the adults surveyed, only some 69% reported walking at least once for ten minutes in the week preceding.
Consider this interesting account from the State of Obesity, a project of the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:
“Eighty percent of American adults do not meet the government’s national physical activity recommendations for aerobic activity and muscle strengthening. Around 45 percent of adults are not sufficiently active to achieve health benefits. Around $117 billion in healthcare costs are associated with inadequate physical activity. Last year, Arkansas had the highest reported percentage of inactivity among adults at 32.5 percent. In the last year, physical inactivity rates decreased in 32 states.”
Okay, okay—it’s not all bad. The good news is that there’s a simple solution that each of us can take, no matter our position in life, or level of conditioning.
Get thyself up and walk!
For most people, walking is a simple, low-impact exercise that we can do each and every day for at least ten minutes. Here’s a few tips for incorporating walking into the activities you already do.
Walk to Work
Simple, right? If your daily drive to work is less than ten minutes, try walking instead. You’ll be surprised how a brisk morning walk can help you wake up and get energized for the day.
Walk to Lunch
Same idea here. Instead of driving to your favorite lunch spot, take a walk there and back. Not within walking distance? Try picking a new spot!
Schedule a Morning Walk With Your Colleagues
This is a great way to get to know your fellow employees, and be held accountable each day. Get a group of people together and schedule a ten- to fifteen-minute walk, either before lunch or after.
Take the Stairs
An oldie, but a goodie. How often do we see people taking the elevator in a four-floor building? Do yourself a favor and take the stairs! It’s a built-in way to get your ten to fifteen minutes of walking each day, and the climb is great for your heart.
Of course, not everyone can participate in these activities without difficulty. There are still options if walking is hard for you, one of them being a physical therapist-guided Personal Training program that will help build conditioning and strength. Some therapists will even incorporate unweighting techniques using tools like the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill. This will help lower body-weight impact and decrease stress on the cardiovascular system allowing for pain-free walking and easing into an exercise program.
It’s a simple list, and that’s the point! Incorporating a little bit of walking into your daily routine is simple, and the results can have a dramatic impact on your overall health.
Let’s each do our part to get our walking grade up!