As a sport, running gets a lot of glory. Some swear by running — they tout the runner’s high and the endorphin rush they get from it. But walking, its slower, friendlier-on-the-joints counterpart, is also a great activity for anyone looking to shape up or slim down. Have no fear if you’ve looked long and hard for the running love and never found it; walking has a number of serious benefits too, from helping to maintain a healthy weight, to lifting your mood, strengthening your bones, and improving balance and coordination. In some cases, the benefits of walking actually outweigh the benefits of running – one study showed that walkers slashed their risk of heart disease more than runners in the same study.
You don’t have to set aside an hour for a long walk, either. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, breaking exercise up into smaller chunks is totally fine. The point is that you move, and you move often. Need some easy ways to increase your daily walking? We’re glad you asked — We’ve got 16 ways to get you to walk more!
Take The Scenic Route 1 of 16
Go the same way home day after day? Switch it up! Take the scenic route, or take the street you never walk down to get to your destination. Just get out of your walking rut; you just may find an Awesome Street.
Photo credit: moonlightbulb, Flickr
Skip The Valet 2 of 16
Skip the valet parking and go find a spot a few blocks away.
Photo credit: peasap, Flickr
Make New Phone Rules 3 of 16
Walk While You Wait 4 of 16
Show up to an appointment with time to spare? Rather than sit in the lobby and play on your smartphone, take a walk around the block. Likewise, if you know you won't be able to fit in your workout that day, leave 10 minutes early for your appointment to build in that walking time.
Photo credit: cdsessums, Flickr
Always Take The Stairs 5 of 16
Whenever possible, take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator. Work on the 60th floor? Get off the elevator a few floors early to hoof it the last few flights. See a moving walkway? Don't just stand -- walk on it for extra steps and to feel like a super-fast walker.
Photo credit: thisreidwrites, Flickr
Turn Errands Into Exercise 6 of 16
Wear A Pedometer 7 of 16
Many experts say to aim for 10,000 steps a day as a long-term goal, and a pedometer is a great way to keep track of those steps! It also allows you to set goals for yourself, and to get creative with ways to increase your step count every day. Aim to beat your previous day's total, or start a competition with a fellow walker or set of co-workers to see who takes more steps in a week. A little competition can be great motivation to move.
Photo credit: Gary Soup, Flickr
Park Farther Away 8 of 16
You've heard it before -- park farther away from the store in parking lots. You'll not only walk more to and from the store, but you'll also be less likely to get your car dinged by another! Besides, you don't want to be one of those silly people waiting for the closest spot, when you could park a little farther out and still get to the store more quickly than if you'd waited for that prime parking spot.
Photo credit: imjoshdotcom, Flickr
Brainstorm On The Go 9 of 16
Take work meetings to go. Brainstorm with colleagues while taking a walk around the block or to a park. The change of scenery may also spark fresh ideas.
Photo credit: Chas Redmond, Flickr
Moving Conference Calls 10 of 16
If you're able take a conference call on your cell phone, walk and talk wherever it's quiet enough to do so. If you're stuck in your office, close the door, hit the speakerphone and pace. In a cubicle and unable to use speaker? Stand up and stretch periodically to help keep limber.
Photo credit: Leonid Mamchenkov, Flickr
Step Out of The Cubicle 11 of 16
Break up your work day with quick walks around the office. Use a bathroom on another floor. Head to the water cooler each hour to freshen your water. Walk down the hall to talk to a colleague rather than shooting off an email. Make it a point to work activity into your workday.
Photo credit: DDFic, Flickr
Get Up During Commercials 12 of 16
You don't have to walk in place while watching your guilty-pleasure TV shows. But you can make a point to get up during commercials to walk around the living room. Just don't head to the refrigerator each time you get up!
Photo credit: KaiChanVong, Flickr
Do Laps While Waiting For The Kids 13 of 16
Whether you're at the park with the kids, waiting outside of a piano lesson, or waiting for soccer practice to get over, don't stay idle. Waiting to pick up the kids is the perfect opportunity for a quick walk. Just remember to wear comfortable shoes.
Photo credit: shannonkringen, Flickr
Take Public Transportation 14 of 16
Instead of driving - which encourages you to park as close as you possibly can - take public transportation. You'll increase your step count as you walk to the train or the bus, plus you'll save on gas!
Photo credit: joshua_putnam, Flickr
Get Off Early 15 of 16
Hop off your bus one or two stops ahead of where you need to get off. A brisk walk to your destination will easily add to your daily walking total.
Photo credit: satguru, Flickr
Just Play 16 of 16
Don't let your kids have all the fun! Join them when playing tag, hopscotch, Frisbee, or any of the games they'll let you in on. Embrace your inner kiddo and move with them!
Photo credit: iotae, Flickr