The 12 Point Plan – 4. Walking

Walking, Move

Benefits:

The final Point in the Movement section; as well as performing structured Conditioning, Strength and Energising Work, I suggest increasing your general daily activity.  This can make a big difference to your health, especially if you feel fatigued, stressed or have any other signs of illness (regularly sick, poor skin/hair/digestion etc.).  We are designed to move and the human body has a greater capacity to heal itself if you’re not sitting around all day long.

Walking is a natural movement, doesn’t take any special instruction and unless you experience pain while you walk, anyone can do it.

Actions:

10,000 Steps per day

How long will this take?  Obviously that will depend on how fast you walk.  10,000 steps is somewhere between 80-120 minutes walking for most people.  I would think about putting aside 60 minutes for it, as you’ll likely accumulate another 1,500-3,000 steps through normal daily activities unless you’re super inactive.  I tend to accumulate about 3,000 in my normal daily activities because I’m on my feet in the gym while I’m coaching.  If you have a manual job you’ll likely do similar or even more than this.

How will you track your steps?  Download a Pedometer to your mobile (if you have it on you throughout the day and it will capture your steps), or wear a Fitbit (or similar) if you have one.  I use an app called Step Tracker.

If you can’t manage 10,000 steps in a day at first due to lack of health or fitness, it could be your goal to build up to that over the first month.  Start with small sets of a few hundred to a thousand steps and build from there.

Top Tips:

How are you going to fit another 60 minutes into your busy schedule?  Here are some ways to make it simpler.  Maybe you start by just aiming to hit this 2-3 times per week (non-training days?) then once you feel the sense of achievement, you might make it happen on other days.

  • Walk an extra 10-30 minutes to work – park further away or get off the bus/tube a stop or two sooner.
  • Try doing walking meetings at work – if you don’t need to be writing notes throughout the meeting, suggest to your colleague that you head out for a walk.  You may also find it stimulates creativity, as more oxygen will be driven to your brains.
  • Walking Desk – If you work for yourself this is an amazing way to increase your steps.  You can buy or rent Walking Desks, which are treadmills that are specifically designed for going very slowly and have a standing desk above them so you can keep moving very slowly and continue to work at a laptop.  Bear in mind that they move very slowly so you’ll accumulate less steps per hour than going out for a walk.  But you get to continue your work whilst you do that, so you’re multi-tasking!
  • Make this your Meditation time (one of the Points from the Mental Fitness section) – this would kill two birds with one stone, but I would suggest that if you’re doing it for meditation practise, you don’t listen to Podcasts, loud/energetic music or even talk to a friend.  Use it as quiet time where you can focus on being present and observing what is around you as you walk. The walk to work wouldn’t be meditation time if you were stomping through busy streets in a hurry, for example.  If, however, you were lucky enough to be able to take a slow walk through nature on your way to work, that could count.