WALK IT OFF: A SIMPLE STRATEGY CLINICALLY PROVEN TO PROMOTE LONGEVITY

In our quest to live life to the fullest, we often seek out complex diets and intense workout routines, overlooking one of the simplest and most accessible anti-aging activity – walking.
In our quest to live life to the fullest, we often seek out complex diets and intense workout routines, overlooking one of the simplest and most accessible anti-aging activity – walking. This everyday activity holds the power to improve your fitness, boost overall well-being and according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association “higher step counts per day (8000 vs 4000) were associated with significantly lower all-cause mortality.” Let’s explore how you can harness the benefits of walking to promote longevity, tips for accountability, and the importance of tracking your progress.

BENEFITS OF WALKING – WHY WE WALK

  • Burns Calories: Walking is an excellent low-impact exercise that burns calories. The number of calories you burn depends on factors like your weight, pace, and duration of the walk. On average, a brisk 30-minute walk can burn around 150-200 calories.
  • Increases Metabolism: Regular walking can help boost your metabolism, which means your body will continue to burn calories even after you’ve finished your walk. Talk about a WIN!
  • Builds Muscle: Although it’s a low-intensity exercise, walking engages multiple muscle groups. Over time, this can lead to increased muscle mass, which is excellent for better bone health.
  • Reduces Stress and Anxiety: Walking has been shown to decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol. Regular walks can alleviate anxiety, reduce stress, and even help combat symptoms of depression, providing a dual benefit for mental well-being and weight management.
  • Improves Mood: Walking releases endorphins, the “feel-good” hormones; giving you that extra boost to improve emotional health, which can be a common hurdle in weight loss.
  • Promotes Heart Health: Walking is a heart-healthy exercise. It lowers the risk of heart disease by improving circulation, reducing blood pressure, and managing cholesterol levels. A healthy heart is essential for long-term well-being.
  • AND Everyone Can Do It: If you are capable, there are no prerequisite, skills, or special techniques to get started. Just put on a pair of shoes and get moving.

First question I always get asked – How Many Steps Should You Take Daily?

According to the Mayo Clinic, most Americans walk between 3,000-4,000 step a day. The general guideline is to aim for 8,000-10,000 steps most days, which is roughly equivalent to walking 4-5 miles. However, this number isn’t one-size-fits-all. Depending on your fitness level and goals, you may need more or less steps. It’s essential to find a balance that works for you. Start by evaluating your current daily steps and gradually challenge yourself to increase your daily step count as you become more comfortable. It’s important to be aware of your current state and set realistic, long-term goals.

Sounds simple, but it is not always easy. Here are some ticks for accountability:

  • Set a Schedule: Establish a regular walking schedule, whether it’s in the morning, during lunch breaks, or in the evening. Or spread it out throughout the day. Keeping your body active with consistency is key.
  • Find a Walking Buddy: Having a community of support is invaluable. Walking with a friend or family member can make it more enjoyable and help you stay accountable.
  • Identify Joyful Habits that work for YOU: Incorporate into your walk things that bring you happiness and you will find it more enjoyable. Walk your pet, call an out-of-town friend, listen to your favorite band, podcast, or book!
  • Use Technology: Apps like Fitbit, Apple Health, or pedometer apps on your smartphone can track your steps and provide motivation by setting goals and challenges. Most apps allow you to share your information with others – this is a great feature; a little friendly competition with friends or family can be fun!
  • Reward Yourself: Don’t forget to treat yourself! Celebrate your achievements with small rewards for every milestone. Whether its pounds dropped, an increase in daily steps, or you just walked more than your sister this month – share your victories with a favorite treat and with loved ones!

The Importance of Tracking Your Progress: Wearable fitness trackers and smartwatches have revolutionized the way we monitor our physical activity. Here’s why they are crucial in your wellness journey:

  • Real-Time Feedback: Wearables provide instant feedback on your steps, heart rate, and other fitness metrics, helping you adjust your routine as needed.
  • Goal Setting: They allow you to set specific goals, whether it’s a daily step target, calorie burn goal, or distance covered.
  • Motivation: Seeing your progress on a daily or weekly basis can be incredibly motivating. It turns your fitness journey into a game with achievable milestones.
  • Data Analysis: It’s all about Awareness! Wearables store historical data, enabling you to track your long-term progress and make informed decisions about your fitness routine and nutritional intake.

If a wearable is not for you – we’ve got options! Tracking with pen and paper is just as effective! Grab a calendar or notebook and keep a daily log of your progress. Need additional support, talk to a health coach to make this a seamless process.

Don’t underestimate the power of MOVEMENT when it comes to your overall wellness. By taking the recommended daily steps, holding yourself accountable, and tracking your progress, you can turn this everyday activity into a highly effective tool for achieving your anti-aging and fitness goals. Walking is not only easy to incorporate into your daily routine but also enjoyable, get those endorphins flowing and make it a sustainable way to improve your health. It’s time to lace up your sneakers and start walking towards a healthier you today!

Ciao Bella!
E –
Erin Primeaux, Co-owner & Executive Coach

REFERENCES:

Saint-Maurice PF, Troiano RP, Bassett DR, et al. Association of Daily Step Count and Step Intensity With Mortality Among US Adults. JAMA. 2020;323(12):1151–1160. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.1382

Inoue K, Tsugawa Y, Mayeda ER, Ritz B. Association of Daily Step Patterns With Mortality in US Adults. JAMA Netw Open. 2023;6(3):e235174. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2023.5174

Mayo Clinic Staff. “When you’re counting your daily steps, are 10,000 enough for you — or maybe too many? Learn how walking can help improve your health and how to set the right goal.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 23 March 2020, https://www.mayoclinic.org/… Accessed 1 Sept. 2023.