How You Can Walk to Better Health in 10 Minutes

It’s not a secret that walking is a very effective way to improve both your physical and mental wellbeing. In recent years there’s been a huge rise in the interest in low impact exercise – sustainable and accessible activities that can fit neatly into any lifestyle.

Whilst introductory level Yoga and Pilates classes have seen a rise in popularity, so has the simple act of taking a stroll. Here we’re going to take a look at how you can walk your way to better health – in just 10 minutes.

RELATED: The Best Exercise Routines To Do At Home Without Equipment

10,000 steps

It’s the magic number. 10,000 steps are what every health guru, physical training instructor and government health official will advise you is the minimum required number of steps you should be clocking up each day. Even every Fitbit is set to a 10,000 step target.

When it comes to walking, the 10,000 steps target has some merit so just how do you fit 10,000 steps into modern daily life? It’s easier than you think and if you’re looking for something truly sustainable, easy on your joints and hugely enjoyable, then read on.

Why are we talking about 10 minutes?

Typically, 10 minutes = 1,000 steps. Nice, bite-sized chunks that you can squeeze into even the busiest of lives to achieve the 10,000 paces a day.

An extra ten minutes walking on anyone’s day is going to be an improvement – particularly for the vast majority of people who lead a somewhat sedentary lifestyle. But we’re looking for a bit more than that – we’re looking for 10 minutes every hour!

Now before you throw your hands in the air – “that’s all very well for you but I’ve got a job/family/life – I haven’t got time to take 10 minutes out of every hour”… we’re not asking you to take 10 isolated minutes to go on a romp around your local park – we’re simply suggesting that being active on your feet for 10 minutes, 10 times a day will improve your health and wellbeing.

How will 10 minutes walking improve my health?

If you don’t know that exercise improves your health where have you been?! Put simply, it helps maintain a healthy weight which in turn reduces the chance of ill health and disease. It increases blood-flow, reduces blood pressure and helps your brain to better manage all the things our hectic lives chuck at us. It’s true.

Here we’re going to give you some tips on just how you can do that. It’s achievable, accessible and will improve your health no end. Focusing on the three groups worst affected, we’re looking mainly at home workers, office workers and stay at home parents but many of these ideas can apply to you, regardless of which category you fall in to.

The Home Worker

There are more and more people working from home and there is strong evidence to show that those of us who work from a home workspace walk significantly less than our office-based counterparts. Proximity to the coffee facilities, toilet and printer mean that people who work from home offices, are sometimes walking less than a 5th of the distance their colleagues.

So – how do home workers make up for the walk to and from the bus, the car park or train station; the coffee run, the half mile round trip to the nearest toilet and the dashing up and down stairs to meetings?

First of all, set an alarm – it’s a widely used technique and there are thousands of mobiles apps to keep you on the straight and narrow. The Pomodoro is a simple timer that prompts you to stop what you’re doing at set intervals. An alarm will indicate you need to drop what you’re doing and focus on something else, in this case, a 10 minute activity. Search ‘Pomodoro timer’ in your app store and you’ll see a variety of free and paid for apps. Alternatively, here’s a list of Zapier’s best Pomodoro timers.

Home Worker
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1. Chores

You could start adding daily chores into your work routine – empty the dishwasher, vacuum the lounge, weed the front garden. Whilst not strictly walking, these activities all count, and you’ll be surprised to learn that you can fit a great many of your domestic jobs into these 10 minute windows. As well as shaking out your limbs, you’ll get a sense of achievement and you won’t waste any time away from work on dull household activities.

2. The Phone

You could start adding daily chores into your work routine – empty the dishwasher, vacuum the lounge, weed the front garden. Whilst not strictly walking, these activities all count, and you’ll be surprised to learn that you can fit a great many of your domestic jobs into these 10 minute windows. As well as shaking out your limbs, you’ll get a sense of achievement and you won’t waste any time away from work on dull household activities.

3. Mini Trampoline

You can get them from upwards of $40 and they take up very little space so even the smallest apartments can accommodate a trampette or rebounder! Use that timer and bounce your way to improved productivity by taking 10 minutes out each working hour. If you want to mix it up, you can search YouTube for ‘10 minute rebounder routines’ – there are hundreds to choose from!

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The Office Worker

Whilst you might be gaining the benefit of a run to the bus stop in the morning and some additional steps around the office, you might still be looking to increase the number of steps you’re doing each day. Here are some of our favourite tips:

1. Drink more water

With the added benefit of better hydration, you’ll also need to visit the bathroom more and that means, you guessed it – more miles!

2. Parking

For many of us, the battle to get the closest parking spaces to the office door is a daily competition with our colleagues. Stop it. Park your car as far from the entrance as possible and skip joyously to your desk in the knowledge that your unwillingness to participate in this game means you’re going to be fitter and healthier than ever before!

3. Stop with the emails

There is no need to email someone you are 10 feet from to ask a question. There doesn’t need to be a paper trail on everything you do and if you have a lot of questions, you’ll clock up a lot of miles! This will also do wonders for the atmosphere in your office and your work relationships which will no doubt benefit from the eye to eye contact.

talk to your colleagues
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Family Life: Stay at Home Mums and Dads

One thing that we often hear from Mums and Dads that stay home to take care of the family is that there’s never any time for exercise. We consulted with some smart stay at home parents on how they managed to keep their daily step count over 10,000 and here are three of our favourites.

1. Borrow a dog

Whilst it’s a given that leaving the house with children in tow can be somewhat challenging at times, think of the greater good – for your health and that of your children. Helping out a neighbour by taking their dog for a walk during the day will give you a significant obligation – one that you won’t be able to talk yourself out of! Finding pooches to walk is easier than you might think – try Borrow My Doggie – a fab app putting together dogs looking for walking supervision and people looking for exercise with a purpose!

2. Befriend someone who needs company

You might be able to find an elderly person in your area who would like to walk too but doesn’t have the confidence to be out alone or simply enjoys the company of others. The best thing about trying this method is that your general wellbeing is benefiting so much from your community spirit that you have double the benefit!

3. Stop shouting

Perhaps our favourite! Stop hollering at your kids to “come to dinner”, “pick up the phone”, and “get the door”! By making your home a no-shout-zone, you, and they will be forced to make the extra effort to find each other in order to relay information! Not only is that going to increase your step count for the day but it will benefit the home environment by reducing the decibel level!

Dog walking to a healthier you
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Are You Tracking Your Steps

Some people like to track their steps rather than taking the timer approach and there are tonnes of gadgets on the market to help you with that. Some can be set to vibrate periodically, prompting you to jump off your office chair and march to the kettle, do laps of the office or perform surprise star jumps – these are extremely handy if you’re just getting into the swing of it and we can recommend a step counter or pedometer for the first few months.

RELATED: Top 10 Smart Trackers

So what health benefits are you going to expect from these 10 minutes here and there?

To remind you – for every 10 minutes you walk a day, you’re achieving approximately 1,000 steps – a 10th of that magic recommended daily target. If you manage to make that 10,000 a day, over the course of a year, you will log, wait for it…… approximately 3000km! That’s the equivalent of 72 marathons, walking from London to Istanbul, it’s the length of the Mississippi and the distance covered by 1,744,186 bicycles parked end to end.

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