It’s as easy as putting one foot in front of the other. A recent European study discovered walking could decrease the risk of stroke in women.
Over 19,000 women and 13,000 men were part of the study that monitored physical activity as well as diet, lifestyle habits and medical history. They were all between the ages of 29 and 69 and participated in the study for at least 10 years. It found women who walked for approximately 3.5 hours per week at a moderate intensity were at lower risk of stroke than those who did not engage in regular walking.
But in an age of convenience, how can we possibly walk more?
“Since the increase in computerization and mechanization has resulted in ever-increasing numbers of people being sedentary for most of their working time, adding short time exercise during working breaks or adding walking activity during work time is recommended,” said researcher Gang Hu, Ph.D., in a statement.
It starts with being prepared. Having running shoes and socks with you at the office allows for impromptu walk breaks. If you have a more structured day, schedule a walk just like you would a meeting; make an appointment with yourself in your calendar and you’re more likely to stick to it. For even better results, invite a colleague to go with you. Research in the fitness industry states that you are twice as likely to achieve your personal fitness goals if you work out with a partner as they’ll provide extra motivation and accountability. Ditch the elevator and take the stairs. They are a great way to get your heart pumping and burn some extra calories. If you don’t have to leave your level, take the long way to and from regularly scheduled meetings and start using a remote bathroom.
Keep a pair of runners by the door at home, too. Outside of the office, improve your scenery by taking a walk by the river or in the mountains. Find a park or a wilderness area near you and commit to a nature walk to boost your heart rate and your spirits. The winter months in Alberta can make for treacherous sidewalk and path conditions. Bring your walking workout inside. Using a treadmill at the gym allows you to conquer kilometres, and add intensity and incline, without having to worry about slipping on ice. To pass the time, listen to your favorite music, podcast or audiobook; research suggests it will help you stick with your regimen longer.
There is also the option of walking to more destinations or taking public transit, though keeping the car parked isn’t for everyone. If driving is a must, park at the back of the lot. You will spend less time fighting for a parking spot and add in more steps at each destination between the car and the door.
Start by making these small changes one by one, and soon it will be second nature to make walking part of your day.