If we could take a pill to make us sleep better, reduce stress levels, give us more energy and feel more positive about ourselves, do you think it would be popular?
Well, we don’t need a pill. Having a more active lifestyle can give us these things. Just by finding the time to fit some extra walking into our daily routine our health can benefit – at no cost and without the side-effects of any medication.
Top tips for fitting more walking into your day
- Build walking into daily life so that it becomes a natural part of your routine – make a decision to walk to the shop for milk and bread, or to get the daily newspaper
- Walk the children (or grandchildren) to school – arrange to meet other families or friends on the way to school
- Find a friend to walk with – for companionship and to help each other to keep up this new walking habit
- Walk the dog – borrow the neighbour’s dog if necessary
- Get off the bus one stop before your destination and walk the rest of the way
- Take the stairs instead of the lift – promise yourself to always use the stairs if travelling less than three floors
- Find local walking groups and make a note of the days that they have organised walks (healthy and sociable)
- Start slowly and gradually build up to go a little bit further and faster each time – try to build up to 30 minutes of moderate activity (makes you feel warmer and breathe a bit faster) at least five times a week – taking 30 minutes a day could mean 30 minutes once a day, 15 minutes twice a day, or ten minutes three times a day
- Almost anyone can walk – start slowly and build up gradually (ask your GP if you have any concerns)
- Remember that WALKING IS FREE and will cut the amount spent on bus fares or fuel costs
BEING ACTIVE actually make us feel more energised and helps us to recharge the batteries, feel more alert, relieve stress and sleep better. Set small achievable goals, like walking to the shop every day, because meeting small goals can motivate further goal setting and success.