A simple guide to help you complete your daily steps and walking goals.
Busy, busy, busy. Everyone is always busy. Too busy to take time for the most important thing, our health. I decided to create this guide to help you find the time, make it simple, and easy to accomplish.
Walking is such a beautiful and simple thing, and it’s available to us, free of charge.
Our legs are made for walking.
You may be thinking, so? Well, we have two legs, they are amazing things, and we should appreciate and use them a lot more to stay healthy and fit. It’s easy to do and, as I said, free!
The problem is that in today’s modern world, most people have become sedentary, comfortable, and/or lazy. As a result, many folks don’t get enough exercise, and, over time, their health declines. The time or lack thereof is the culprit.
And precisely that’s what makes walking so fantastic, it’s easy, not very time consuming and everyone can do it.
Let’s manage time and priorities.
I recently wrote an article about walking and how 15000 steps a day will keep the doctor away — in other words, making walking your main daily exercise to stay or become healthy. Structured and scheduled walks, or just walking to the coffee shop or the grocery store (and carrying your groceries home), will significantly support your health, fitness, and wellbeing. It’s a scientifically proven fact.
In general, I received lovely comments about the article. I do admit, though, some readers didn’t agree with me, or their opinion was that my theory isn’t sustainable unless you aren’t working. Well, let’s see.
Not working – being the operative phrase. Why? It comes back to the old culprit, time. Controversi
Sir Richard Branson famously said, “if you don’t have time for exercise, make time.”
Easy for him to say? He may be a billionaire and have tons of staff, but rest assured, he manages his time, and puts his health first, in the form of exercise and a healthy diet.
The walking life.
Back to our legs and walking. Most of us are lucky enough to have two functioning legs, so let’s use them to help us manage our time and get fit, and healthy, for FREE! I emphasize free because almost all other exercise activities cost money and way more time.
From a monitory perspective, walking is free, and it frees up time too. The time you would have otherwise spent more of on other forms of exercise.
Making a planned and conscious effort to walk far more every day allows you to exercise efficiently and effectively.
- You can walk from and to anywhere – saving time
- There is no need to change your clothes; you can walk in anything – saves time
- No need to drive, take a train or Uber to a gym or classes – saves time
- You can walk at home, in the office, or anywhere, as long as you set your mind to it – saves time
- Park your car further from your destination and walk the rest – saves time
- Fast-paced walking is the perfect cardio and fat burning exercise
- Walking at a fast pace raises your heart rate within the safe and comfortable aerobic zone, which helps build a healthy heart and a robust cardiovascular system
- The impact of walking supports bone density yet doesn’t damage joints (as does running)
- While walking, you are building muscle strength in your legs, lower back, and abs, and supporting your spine, neck, and posture
- Walking supports and strengthens lung function
- Supports overall organ health and function
- Walking fast or at a slower pace reduces stress
- Your brain opens up, and your creative juices flow while walking
- Adding simple strength training exercises such as lunges, or squats during a walk, increases your muscle strength
Walking, in any shape, form, speed, distance, and time is simply the best and most effective and efficient workout, plus it’s free!
Let’s think about our Primal ancestors, some 2000 years ago. They had to walk everywhere, all the time. I bet the only time you would catch them running was when they were sprinting for their lives to get away from a predator!
Walking is what kept our Primal Ancestors fit and healthy. I’m pretty sure they didn’t lift rocks and tree trunks for fun either, which is equivalent to what people do in the gym these days while wasting lots of time.
For the record: Scientists have found plenty of evidence proving our Primal Ancestors lived long lives, providing they didn’t get eaten or fall off a cliff.
The key message:
Keeping it simple and using our amazing legs is all we need to achieve and maintain excellent functional fitness, health, and a positive mindset.
How to achieve your step goal, every day, and never stop walking:
1. Step by step
Depending on your starting point, even though walking is not hard to do, start with the step by step approach. Not knowing your condition, I can’t advise you to hit the ground and immediately walk 15000 steps a day.
If you are overweight, you should take it slowly and increase time, distance, and speed gradually. If you haven’t walked much at all of late, then start with 6000 steps a day. After two weeks, increase to 8000 steps a day, after another two weeks, target 10000 a day.
Now you are six weeks into your new walking lifestyle and should be feeling excited and motivated to get out and walk whenever you can. Now it’s time to raise your goal to 12500 steps a day, and then finally go for the 15000 the following week.
Two months into your walking routine, you are now at 15000 steps a day. Well done!
2. Hit the ground walking, fast
If you are in halfway decent shape, this is the best way to make walking your priority and significant part of your life again. All you need is a positive attitude, decide to do it, and hold yourself accountable. Soon, walking several times a day will become a habit, you’ll never want to miss. It’s a great feeling when you get there!
How I schedule my walks.
In the beginning, I added my walks to my calendar and set reminders. When the alarm went off, up I got and said, alright, let’s go! I don’t need to do that anymore; it’s become fully automated.
Three walks a day, and 1.5 hours of your time is all it takes. Ah, that word time again! Don’t have enough time in your day? Too busy at work or with your family chores? I get it, but only you can decide what your health is worth to you.
Think about these questions:
Want to live a long life?
Would you like to lose weight?
Do you want to feel less stressed?
How about feeling more energized and happy?
Those are only a few questions, but they are questions you should ask yourself when it comes to time, time management, and your health. I, for one, choose my health, always, and make sure to get my walks and exercise done, no matter what.
The walking routine.
Getting out of bed one hour earlier is always a solution to time constraints. I used to get up around 7.30 am. Now I tend to get up between 5 and 6 am every day. Having that extra hour or so helped me tremendously with my time management.
I feel so much better these days, loaded with tons of
Back to the three walks a day and why.
The early morning walk is the “wake-up and shake-up your brain walk.” The first walk of the day is to kick start your mind and body, get your creative juices flowing, and install a positive mindset for the day.
During the first walk, I’ll go over my plans for the day and week. I talk out loud to myself to make sure I understand and remember my goals and task list.
The noon walk is to give your brain a rest after working for several hours. I’ll focus on pushing myself hard and fast and try to forget about everything that’s been on my mind. This walk is what I call a “meditative power walk.” I’ll get back to my office and feel completely refreshed and full of energy.
The evening walk is the “slow life down walk,” still at a decent pace, but now I’m reflecting and relaxing my mind. I’ll try my best to make sure this walk is on the beach for sunset or in a forest where I can listen to the birds and just be one with nature. And if you hav
Steps and Time.
If you are walking fast, at a pace of 8.5 kilometers an hour (5.2 miles an hour), you can walk 5000 steps in 30 to 40 minutes, which lands you at 15000 a day. But let’s assume you’re not walking quite that fast.
Therefore, we’ll use this calculation:
Three walks at 30 minutes each and 4000 steps, and you arrive at 12000 steps. You reach the last 3000 steps by making sure you move
You can do this by making small changes to your daily habits. For example; Walk to lunch, use the stairs, and don’t use the elevator, and avoid escalators. The stairs are your friend, learn to use them, and love them.
Take multiple short breaks a day and walk around your block or in your place of work. W
A quick summary shows that all we need to do to reach 15000 steps a day is:
- Make 1.5 hours a day available
- Schedule three main walks at 30 minutes each
- Walk around your house or office a little every day
- Maybe get up a little earlier to fit all of the above into your schedule
Everyone can do this, no matter what your situation may be. It doesn’t matter how busy you are; it’s only a question of your will power and how much your health is worth to you.
Please, make time for your health, get outside and walk. Your heart will thank you.
Thanks for reading.
Former Olympic Athlete & Certified Health Coach.
“It is my mission to educate people on how to lose weight, how to build a healthy, strong heart, body, and mind, supporting a longer life.”