Yet another report has appeared from the British Heart Foundation affirming that “more than 20 million people in the UK are physically inactive”. This can lead to serious health risks affecting body and mind.
A way to counter some of the risks is to make walking a natural part of your daily routine. There are no extra costs involved while the benefits of regular walking are now undisputed in terms of both our physical and mental well-being.
You only need to make slight incremental changes in life-style and mind-set, gradually adapting to them over the long term.
Here are some ways you can do this in your working life:
1. Blend walking into the routines you already have
This could be in terms of:
– Travel: You can walk part of the way to work rather than resort solely to a car or public transport. This can help you pace yourself and feel grounded, easing tension and anxiety. You may even do some useful thinking or planning.
– Taking breaks: How much are you desk-bound? Getting up at regular intervals and walking a short stretch can help energise you over the day.
– Lunch: This is a notorious time for counter-productive habits. You might consider that you need to work all through your lunch hour, having a sandwich at your desk, but you might well be more productive if you took a break and walked for a while, freeing and refreshing your mind. This could be in a quiet space where you can reflect and take stock.
– Using the stairs: Why not walk up the stairs rather than resort to lifts and elevators unless your are having to climb a long way up?
2. Build up your walking habit gradually rather than in a great rush
There is a current trend for you to walk a minimal number of steps today, using an app of some kind that helps you measure each step. You may find this useful, so long as you set yourself realistic targets that motivate rather than dishearten you.
3. Walk in time-slots that you can manage as a regular rule
You may find it easier to build up your walking in terms of time-slots, allotting thirty minutes, let’s say, to walking to and from work, fifteen minutes for a walk at lunchtime and another fifteen minutes for other breaks. There is no right or wrong here.
4. See walking as a good rather than wasteful use of time
We often tell ourselves that we cannot afford such precious time and effort, but is this really true? Often a walk makes decision making easier as insights are gained when not thinking directly about a task. Time is saved not wasted both in the short and the long term.