I have two doctors, my left leg and my right.
– George Trevelyan, 1913
Walking is a greatly underrated form of exercise. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, increase your conditioning work or simply ‘stay in shape‘; walking will help you on the way to your goal.
How much should I do?
The commonly cited daily minimum is 10,000 steps (about 5 miles), but really, any amount of walking is beneficial. Just try to do more than you did the previous day or week.
Note that this includes all walking through the day. You’d be surprised at how fast it adds up; particularly if you’re on your feet all day at work. The simplest way to measure this is with a pedometer (don’t worry, it’s a tiny, inconspicuous thing).
When should I do it?
Rather than trying to cover a large distance in a single session (and 5 miles can be quite a lot if you’re not used to it), break it down. The simplest way to do this is walk in situations when you’d usually choose another option.
Sometimes this isn’t feasible (especially if it’s raining), but keep the following in mind as potential leave-the-car-and-walk times :
- the journey to work
- the trip to the corner shop for milk, bread and newspapers
- stairs (instead of escalators)
- weekends (think ‘Sunday hike’, rather than ‘Sunday drive’ – even if you drive to your starting point)
If you’re just starting out on your fitness journey, it can be great to hear from others who have recently taken the plunge themselves. For information and inspiration, try these :
Former Fat Guy 10,000 Steps Forum
Rob has definitely turned his life around, and this forum takes you inside just one aspect of that – walking at least 10,000 steps daily.
The 10,000 Step Guide to Fitness
This BBC News article contains a very interesting look at the mechanism used by a typical pedometer. Rest assured, they’ve come down in size considerably since those photos were taken.
The Fat Man Walking
Steve Vaught drastically changed things following one simple idea – to walk across the US. That’s a long, long way. Wait ’til you hear what he has in mind now.