I'm in Ibiza for a few days with my husband for our 1 year anniversary. We got married here last year and it's very special to us! We're in the north of the island sunbathing, reading, chilling out, swimming, doing yoga and hiking...
Hiking is basically a long walk...maybe in slightly wilder surroundings and on more challenging gradients than regular walking, but essentially it's the same slow-ish paced consistent movement.
Walking & Overall Health
Walking is a low-impact, full body exercise, free transport service which almost anyone can do at any time with no equipment! It gets the 'blood pumping' which can clear heads and make you feel more energetic and alert. It also gets the muscles working which makes you feel less stiff & stops muscles getting tight. It uses energy - burning calories & increasing fitness. Walking is great for the mind, it's therapeutic, gives you a break and gives you time to think. Plus you can easily build it into your routine.
Walking & Weight-Loss
I used to think I was an active person because I hammered the gym every morning before work for an hour, but at that time I was working in an office and I would then sit down all day at my desk. I couldn't understand why I couldn't lose weight. It was only when I starting to simply move more in my day that I saw changes.
Your body uses energy for all functions whether conscious or unconscious: the beating of your heart, sleeping, thinking, digesting food, working, shopping, driving, walking, running, lifting weights etc. This is why those very general guidelines say that women need 2,000 calories a day and men 2,500 calories a day just to live. Energy expenditure all adds up but even though I was hammering the gym, my otherwise sedentary lifestyle meant I wasn't getting the results I wanted. So I started to make sure I was walking 10,000 steps a day on top of my workouts and saw so many positive benefits in weight-loss and my energy and fitness levels.
How much is this?
A recent study found that the average person only manages about 5,000 steps a day, so whilst 10,000 is probably more than you think, the good news is once you start you'll feel better and find it easier to find ways to get them in.
I measure my steps using the health app on my iPhone (it's the app with a red heart on it) - have a look now as it will have logged your steps without you knowing for however long you have had your phone! A fit bit can obviously help too and make you more conscious of it as it's on your wrist.
These are all approximate as everyone is different, but some average guidelines:
- 1 mile = 2,000 steps
- 5 miles = 10,000 steps
- 30 min walk = 4,000 steps
Don't forget that ALL steps count, so try not to see this as a huge task.
Ways to Walk
Whatever your preferred fitness activity, increasing your steps per day on top of it can help your overall health and fitness.
Ways to incorporate walking into your day:
- Walk to and from work or get off bus/tube/train a few stops early
- Go for a walk with a friend to catch up instead of a drink
- Take the stairs (that old chestnut...)
- Walk on your lunch break
- Have a walking meeting in a park or take a call on hands free
- Walk to a colleague's desk to speak to them rather than email, even if on another floor...or another building!
- Walk around a new city to explore
- Hike on holiday!