Walking just 30 minutes a day can significantly reduce your risk for major chronic diseases. Read these tips to get started.
Use the following ideas to start your own walking program.
- Check a pedometer for a few days and see how many steps you average.
- Set a daily goal and work (or walk) up to it. A good goal is to increase your average daily steps gradually so that you get used to the increased distance. Recommendations vary on how fast to increase steps. Anywhere from 500-2,000 steps a week is reasonable.
- Record your daily steps in a log or notebook.
There are many ways to increase your daily steps:
- Choose a more distant parking place
- Take the stairs
- Walk over to a friend's dorm room or a colleague's office instead of using the phone or e-mail
- Walk the dog
- Walk with a friend each day
Find ways to walk even during the winter months or other inclement weather.
- Walking in the malls
- Local school track or fitness center
- 3-5min "walk breaks" during study time/work/etc
If you experience pain or discomfort, check with your primary care provider.
Remember, it takes about six months to "lock-in" a new behavior. Think of your walking program as a permanent change in your behavior. If you maintain your walking program for a minimum of six months, you are much more likely to maintain this change long-term.