Walking could be the perfect exercise: it’s free, easy and requires no fancy equipment.
Studies show that it can help you lose weight, lower your blood pressure, boost your memory and help protect you from chronic diseases like diabetes. Even walking as little as 21 minutes a day can bring health benefits.
But even with all of the hype about the benefits of walking, it can be hard to change old habits. It’s engrained in our society that when you need to get somewhere, you drive.
In Nova Scotia, transportation is responsible for 38% of energy consumption and produces 26% of carbon emissions – that’s a lot of pollution hitting the atmosphere every year. Many people are opting for healthier (and cheaper) ways to get around.
Default to walk
It sounds simplistic, but if you don’t have to drive – walk. It can become second nature to hop in the car for short trips – to pick up the mail, visit the corner store, hit the gym – when you could walk instead.
Build in a little extra time and head out on foot—the fresh air will boost your mood, you’ll burn extra calories and you might discover something interesting in your neighbourhood.
Walk and talk
If you’re taking time to catch up on the phone with a friend or family member, slip on your sneakers, pop in your ear buds and circle the block as you chat – you’ll be so focused on the conversation, it won’t even seem like exercise.
For another twist on walking and talking, some businesses hold “walking meetings,” which can help boost creative thinking and brainstorming.
Make it routine
Look at how you organize your time, especially with fall routines coming back into play. Chances are there will be times during the week when you can squeeze in a little walk. If you usually drive your kids to the bus stop, plan ahead and walk together instead (We Walk or Wheel is a great local program to help motivate kids).
If you’re stuck at a desk all day, take little walking breaks during the day. Keep it simple: take the long route downstairs to the kitchen, skip the elevator and take the stairs, or head outside for a quick five-minute stroll instead of your usual coffee break.
Take the bus
It’s true, taking the bus isn’t walking, but when you do it, you’re more likely to walk to and from the bus stop or the terminal. Get off a few stops before your destination and sneak in some extra minutes of exercise. Every step counts!