I’ve always been a believer in healthy habits (even though I’ve got my share of unhealthy ones). Mine is walking.
In the last 20 years, no matter where I’ve worked I’ve always made it a point to walk during lunch, weather and schedule permitting. I will walk in temperatures as low as 10 degrees and don’t mind a light rain. I love to walk with a partner but don’t let the lack of one stop me. My goal is to walk 3-4 times a week during lunch. I also meet my friends every weekend to walk. When the weather is bad we walk in the mall on Sunday mornings, before the stores are open.
I’ll run into people in the cafeteria at work or be in a meeting when they’ll ask me “Aren’t you the Walker?” I’ll happily admit to it and usually invite them to join me. Over the last 17 months at my current work location I’ve had numerous partners, none of whom lasted more than a few months so I don’t let that stop me. I always have my MP3 player with me at work so I can pop my headphones inn to listen to some upbeat music or the latest audiobook I’m in the middle of.
I’m always amazed at how many people fail to take advantage of a simple thing that has so many benefits. A recent study shows that walking just 5 miles a week can help slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Walking can help ward off Diabetes, strokes, osteoporosis and mental health problems such as depression.
My suggestions for working walking into your busy schedule:
- A lunchtime walk invigorates me for the afternoon. The physical and mental break will keep you from slowing down in the afternoon.
- If I don’t have time for a walk I may make it a point to use the 2nd floor bathroom to add a few steps. In my previous job, the closest bathroom was 440 steps from my desk. In my current workplace, the closest bathroom is 39 steps. Every step counts.
- Everyone knows you should park your car far away from the front door at work to force yourself to walk those extra steps into the building.
- Walking is cheap. It only takes a good pair of shoes and no other equipment.
- Even if you walk just 10 minutes per day, and take one day off, that’s an extra hour of exercise per week.
- Have you ever stood in the hall talking to someone or been on your phone at home and before you know it 20 minutes have gone by? If you would have walked while you were having the conversation, the time would fly by and before you know it you would have gotten in a mile of walking. The next time you’re going to be making a lengthy phone conversation, take your cell phone and go for a walk. You’ll be amazed at how easily the time passes.
- Get a pedometer to see how active or sedentary you are. Find out what your average number of steps is on a workday and make it a goal to increase your steps by 5-10%. At my previous employer we participated in health initiatives and were given the goal to average 10,000 steps per day. We got a free pedometer to help us keep track of our steps. Between my lunchtime walks and cardio work at the gym my average was closer to 12,000 steps but I was able to hit much higher numbers on some days.
Some good resources for people getting started:
I’ve given you lots of good reasons to get up off your butt and start moving. Make it a priority. No more excuses.