We are all busy nowadays, so how does one find the time to do a little walking every day? It really isn’t that hard. For most people, it requires committing a little more time here and there out of each day.
Many people that should be exercising don’t because they believe they have to do it in one chunk of time; that is not true. While we should each get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day, it can be done in small chunks of time throughout the day and still reap the same benefit.
But keeping track of small chunks of time spent each day walking can be trying and most people will soon give up. Instead, let technology keep track of it for you in the form of steps walked.
Wear a pedometer or accelerometer and strive to walk 10,000 steps each day. Before you dismiss that goal as impossible, try it. You are already racking up more steps walking each day than you realize. By creatively adding in some of these opportunities to your workday, you’ll soon reach your daily goal.
Workday Walking Opportunities
There are many ways you can get in some extra steps while going to or from work, or while at work:
- Instead of finding a parking spot close to your workplace, park at the far end of the lot and walk in the rest of the way. It only takes a few extra minutes each way and the steps adds to your daily goal.
- If you take public transportation, get off a stop or two before the closest stop to your work and walk the rest of the way.
- Once you are at your workplace, take the stairs instead of the elevator to your office or at least for a few floors.
- As a healthy alternative to emailing a coworker in your same building, get out of your chair and walk over to their desk.
- If you have to go to a different floor for lunch, walk there and back.
- Instead of eating a big lunch in the cafeteria, bring a healthy lunch to work. Strap on your walking shoes and go outside for a walk. Just allow yourself enough time to get back, cool down and eat.
By incorporating a few of these tips into your workday, you will most likely be at goal and you added very little extra time to your workday. As a final note, keep track of the number of steps walked each day.
On days when you don’t meet goal, figure out what you can change so that the next time you reach your daily goal. It could be walking further, faster or seeking out a new step opportunity.
What’s the Best Time of Day to Walk for Fitness?
From a calories-burned point of view, there isn’t one time of day better than the other to walk. However, there are more considerations than burning calories that may influence when you walk; some bodily functions, and especially the habit of walking, respond better based on the time of day you walk.
The time of day for walks are broken down into four periods throughout the day:
Walking in the Morning
A morning walk has several advantages, such as sharpening your mental acuity and revving up your metabolism that will carry through for the rest of the day. So while you don’t burn any more calories by exercising in the morning, you will end up burning more throughout the day by going for morning walks.
Walking Around the Noon Hour
Usually done at work, exercising during your lunch break before eating the healthy lunch you brought from home, reduces stress, curbs hunger and improves blood flow so you can maintain your sharpness throughout the afternoon.
Walking in the Afternoon
Studies have shown that exercising between 3 pm and 7 pm is the best time to build endurance and muscle. Increasing your endurance not only allows you to walk farther but faster before you’ll get tired. Building muscle gives your body better definition, tones the muscles you already have along with increasing their size. Larger muscles mean more calories burned per day, but don’t worry, you won’t build enough to give you that bulked look.
Taking a Walk in the Evening
Exercising in the evening is a good way to reduce stress from a day of working. This time of day can be easier for some people as their muscles are already warm and flexible from the day’s activities. For many people, this perceived reduction of effort required makes exercising more enjoyable than during other times of day.
Some people end up not exercising because they can’t find a 30-minute block of time each day to devote to it. However walking time is cumulative – for example, you get the same benefits from walking 10 minutes three times per day as you do once for 30 minutes. So if “chunking” works better for you, then walk according to that plan.
Experts agree that it isn’t the time of day you exercise that is important, but to do it when it best fits into your schedule. As with all exercising, consistency counts, so if you can find a time of day when you can routinely walk, you’ll start to see results sooner and derive more benefits from walking.
If you’d like to get more out of your walking for fitness plan, check out the “Guide to Setting Your Walking Fitness Goals” for more in depth knowledge on the subject of walking for fitness. While you’re there, be sure to sign up for the free MyFitnessNut.com Newsletter to be kept up to date on the latest health and fitness topics.