Tread Well, Feel better
Walking for fitness
Most of us walk every day without even thinking about it. But did you know that walking can also be an integral part of your fitness routine? We want to help you maintain an active and healthy lifestyle. That’s why we have put together this brochure of walking tips. Use these tips and suggestions as guidelines on how to make walking more of an activity you want to do and less of one that you need to do. Walking doesn’t just help improve the way you look – it can also improve the way you feel. By introducing a regular walking routine into your schedule, you may experience positive changes such as:
- Reduced blood cholesterol
- Lower blood pressure
- Increased cardiovascular endurance
- Stronger bones
- Calories burned and weight lost
The Surgeon General, as well as The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommends 30 minutes of activity at least five days per week at a moderate intensity level. This time can be spread out during different parts of the day if you are unable to fit it in all at once.
Keep these helpful hints in mind when walking:
- Walk short distances. Begin with a five-minute walk and gradually increase your distance.
- Speed is not important. Maintain a comfortable pace.
- Focus on good posture. Keep your shoulders down, back and relaxed. Hold your head up and your eyes forward. Tighten your abdominal muscles and buttocks and adopt a natural stride.
- Move your arms naturally and take deep breaths. If you have trouble catching your breath, slow down.
- Be sure you can talk while walking. If you can’t hold a conversation, you are walking too fast.
- When ending your walk, slow the pace and stretch well afterwards.
How many steps should you walk each day?
Recent guidelines from the CDC and ACSM suggest walking 10,000 steps each day. This recommendation is based on the fact that it takes an estimated 2,000 steps to walk a mile. The number of steps in a mile will vary from person to person since it is determined by stride length.
To calculate your stride length and how many steps you average per mile, see the box below.
How many steps are in your mile?
1. Mark a distance of 50 feet.
2. Count the number of steps you take while walking this distance.
3. Divide 50 by the number of steps you’ve taken. This is your stride length.
4. Divide 5,280 by your stride length. This is the average steps you take per mile.
On most days a fairly active person takes between 4,000 and 6,000 steps. The extra steps required to reach the 10,000 step goal will help you reach the 30 minutes of activity recommended by the Surgeon General. It is okay to work up to the 10,000 step goal. If you don’t typically move around much during the day, it is a good idea to increase your daily steps in small increments. A person who takes an average of 3,000 steps should aim to reach 4,000 – 5,000 steps first. Once you feel comfortable taking that many steps, keep increasing that number until you reach 10,000. Remember, it is important to work at your own pace. If you are not used to exercising, you should gradually build up to 10,000 steps.
Increasing your steps
Adding more steps into your daily routine is easier than you may think. Below are a few suggestions to help get you started:
- Walk the dog
- Use the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator
- Park farther away from the office or the store
- Walk to a co-worker’s desk to ask a question instead of calling or e-mailing
- Schedule a walking meeting
- Window shop