Cindy is an Extension Associate Professor in Beaver County Utah with responsibilities in Family and Consumer Sciences and 4-H. She loves the people she serves, and the variety of programs she is able to develop. Her main programming areas are health and wellness, youth leadership, and anything 4-H.
Regular physical exercise is one of the best things you can do to improve your health. Walking is a form of exercise that is available to most people, does not require any special equipment other than good supportive shoes, and can be fun to do with friends and family members. The Mayo Clinic reported the following benefits of regular walking: it can reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and depression.
One barrier to maintaining a consistent walking schedule can be a lack of time. Instead of adding extra activities into an already busy schedule, try incorporating more steps while at work and at home that will increase your activity level.
Here are some ideas to help you get started:
- Take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator
- Set a timer to remind you to move every hour
- Take a break at work and walk around your building
- Choose a parking spot further away from the entrance of stores, schools, etc.
- Play active games with your kids
- March in place while watching TV or while reading emails at work
- Carry your groceries in one bag at a time
- Walk while you talk on the phone, or when brushing your teeth
- Skip the drive-up window
- Walk your dog, or volunteer to walk someone else’s dog
- Turn up the music and dance
- Hide the remote so you must get up and move to change the TV channel
- Be forgetful, embrace the “old syndrome”, “baby brain”, or “too much on my plate condition” --- forget things, make several trips, quit being so organized, carry things up and down the stairs
- Forgo modern conveniences---wash your own car, mow your own lawn, vacuum your house
How many steps will you take today? Choose an idea from the list provided or identify a strategy of your own to increase your steps. Move more, walk more, and improve your health.