When it comes to exercises which can be done at any fitness level and for free, there aren’t many that come to mind. Walking however, is one of the most effective exercises, and you can start right now. Set yourself a winter walking challenge of 10,000 steps a day – a common target you’ll soon be able to achieve in no time. Put your walking shoes on and kick-start your new fitness hobby.

 

Why 10,000 steps?

10,000 steps is a common walking goal used by fitness trackers and other programmes to encourage people to be more active throughout the day. 10,000 steps is a realistic target which will not only help you burn around 500 calories, but will also help you to complete the recommended 150 minutes a week of exercise.

You probably walk around 3000-4000 steps a day anyway between carrying out chores around the home to walking around the office and so on. Getting a pedometer (most phones have these built in) is a great way to measure how many steps you do, and how many more you need to do to fit into your routine.

 

Ideas for winter walking

There are many things you can do to complete your 10,000 steps a day, and forming winter walking habits will help you carry on throughout the year. Some things you can try to get your additional steps in include:

Get your walk in early in the morning

Why not start your day off with a walk as a great way to wake yourself up and to get moving? Walk to the shops to pick up breakfast or take a walk around the block – just half an hour each day is a great way to get some additional steps in and boost your metabolism ready for the day ahead.

Take the stairs, every time

Climbing stairs is not only a good way to get some steps in, but it takes extra effort to climb them. Take the stairs in your office or school, apartment building and anywhere else instead of taking the lift. While you may feel out of breath at the beginning, you’ll soon notice your fitness improving as you continue to climb those stairs.

Walk at work

Sitting at your desk every day can be detrimental to your health, but you can counteract the effects by being more active at work. Taking calls away from your desk on your mobile whilst walking around can stretch your legs, whilst walking meetings are becoming more popular as people look to exercise more and enjoy regular screen breaks. Wrap up warm and start walking around on your lunch break – try window shopping, walking to the nearest bit of green or walk up and down the stairs a few times. It will all count towards your step count and leave you feeling more energised in the office.

Let winter walking be your new mode of transport

Walking is the perfect way to get from A to B, and whilst it may take longer to get to where you’re going, you could find yourself getting more done on the way. Make some phone calls, listen to podcasts or an audiobook or check your emails on your way. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and the steps will soon start adding up. Even if you only walk every other day or just one way during the day, you’ll still be better off than if you were doing no walking at all.

Get outside on weekends

If the thought of spending your Saturday morning in the gym makes you miserable, then why not get out and walk instead? Explore the nearest park or countryside and enjoy the benefits of exercising without having to sweat it out. Having a dog is the perfect way to force yourself to walk, and if you don’t have one or your circumstances don’t allow it, you can volunteer to be a dog walker at local dog charities or help your neighbours out once in a while.

Don’t let the cold put you off winter walking. If you dress appropriately you’ll soon warm up once you get moving – you can layer up if you need to and remove items as you please. Walking is a great beginner exercise which can help you to become fitter to take on other forms of exercise, and can be done anywhere at any time. Get more ideas for completing your 10,000 steps and learn more about the benefits of walking on the NHS Choices site. Fall in love with winter walking and enjoy a fitter, healthier new you.