Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Walk It Out

It’s National Walking Day - which is a perfect segue into my first fitness-related posting!  

Walking is one of the easiest ways to keep your heart happy and your body moving, and today I’m going to give you some tips on how to turn something you have to do anyway into a legit commitment to a healthier body.

Before I dig in, the current recommended guidelines for the daily # of steps are:

  • 6,000 for health and body maintenance
  • 10,000+ for weight loss and optimal health (and to be truly “active”)

Here are my favorite walking tips:
#1:  Pedometer, baby.  The first step (ha, pun completely intended) in becoming aware of my walking activity was to get something to record how many steps I’m taking on a daily basis.  Reality check - 10,000 steps is HARD to attain - a fact I did not realize until I acquired a pedometer.  This is the one I currently use, and it’s a great product.  I have been very satisfied with it so far - before using it for the first time, there's a setup process that is essential to tracking a more accurate reading, so don’t skip it! It will ask you to measure your stride, which you can find out how to do here.  If you don’t want to shell out the bucks for a pedometer just yet, consider downloading this free app, which uses GPS technology to count your steps. It was my go-to before I buckled down and got an independent pedometer.
#2:  Take the long way.  There’s a copier three feet away from my desk, and another one about 40 feet down the hall.  Guess which one I use? The same applies for where I park (the farther from the door the better), which Metro station I use (if I need to switch lines and know that the line I'm transferring to is walkable, off I go!), and which walking routes I take on strolls and errands.
#3:  Bring distractions.  Grab your iPod before you head out the door.  I used to love jamming out to tunes, but lately it’s been audiobooks for me.  I love audiobooks.  I subscribe to Audible, an Amazon service that lets you download audiobooks directly to your iPhone (or iPod or Droid or Kindle).  Time flies fast on otherwise mundane walks when someone is telling you a captivating story the whole way!
#4:  Lunchtime = crunch time.  I keep a change of clothes and a pair of sneaks at work.  On beautiful days (of which there have been many in the District lately), I don my workout gear (usually a tee and cropped sweatpants), hook up my current audiobook (right now it’s Christine by Stephen King - I have creepy tastes, apparently) and head off to explore my city during my lunch hour.  My favorite route lately is just under three miles round trip and takes me all the way down the National Mall to the Washington Monument and back.  I'm aware that not all of you work in the DC area, so this option may not be available to you. But strolling down the streets and sidewalks surrounding your office or neighborhood works just as well - especially if you adhere to my #3 suggestion.
#5:  Keep track.  I log how many steps I'm taking a day.  Remember - 6,000 is the minimum and a great start, but 10,000 is optimal.  I keep track of mine with my Activity Tracker via Weight Watchers, but there are tons of options out there for non-WW subscribers. You can enter it into your own Excel or Google Docs spreadsheet or use one of these nifty logs provided for this very purpose: AHA's Tracker and's List of Top 8 Pedometer Walking Programs.

Here's a few more cool links to check out (both have been referred to above):
  •’s Walking Guide gives awesome daily guidance on how to add some more spring into your step.  There’s even an option to sign up for daily emails that give awesome and incredibly helpful tips (check it out in the upper right corner).  It’s made a huge difference for me so far and I hope it will for you too!  
  • The American Heart Association’s “Start Walking Now” program is great. Register to receive tips, ideas, and incentives to get you on your feet. AHA is the creator of National Walking Day, too!

It truly is amazing how much walking can improve your heart, health, and mind.  I look forward to my lunchtime walks every day, and it has made such a difference in my afternoon demeanor, my overall daily morale, and my self confidence. Not to mention it's helping me get in shape!

I invite you to pledge to take a 30 minute walk with me today to celebrate National Walking Day. Walking for fitness doesn't need to be a chore, and hopefully with the tips I've laid out, you will be able to find a routine that works for you! It’s an easy and surefire way to be good to your body. Let's get going!


  1. Love the new blog, Bizzy! You know what would make a great post? A report of your first trip to Kazaxe! I go every Tuesday night - when do you want to come with me? I hear it is worth 20 activity points!!

  2. Hi Suzanne! I would ABSOLUTELY love to go to Kazaxe with you, and then do a post on it! I've been wanting to try it for so long and now I have a great excuse to get started! Thank you so much for reading and commenting - feel free to let me know if you ever have any questions or comments! I'll be in touch about Kazaxe!!!