One Step at a Time: The Hidden Power of a Simple Walk

09.27.19 |

One of the many components that sets the Habits of Health Transformational System apart from other approaches to health is how we manage physical activity, especially in the early stages of the journey.

We don’t send you into the gym to flip tires and swing hammers.

We don’t tell you to start training for a marathon.

We don’t ask you to wake up an hour earlier to attend a no-holds-barred fitness bootcamp class.

All of those things could become healthy parts of your journey later, but they are often demoralizing and unsustainable for people who are not already fit or who do not already have an exercise routine. Jumping into intense exercise can be too intimidating, too difficult, and too dangerous when we are not at a healthy weight.

The Habits of Health asks you to start with something so simple that it’s almost impossible to fail: walk more.

The magic of walking is that nearly anyone can do it, and you can add more steps at a pace that makes sense for you. While 10,000 steps might be your long-term goal, maybe your initial goal is to add an extra 100 steps to your daily routine, and you can gain those extra 100 steps by taking an evening stroll—adding them all at once—or by finding opportunities throughout your day to add steps here and there. Perhaps you use the watercooler farthest from your desk, perhaps you park a few steps farther from the door, perhaps you take the stairs instead of the elevator—every extra step counts.

And here’s why walking is especially powerful:

  • Walking is accessible. No matter what your fitness level or your age, walking is typically an activity you can start without overexerting yourself.
  • Walking is safe. Learning to lift weights or to do yoga or to run can be a great part of your new active lifestyle, but you also have to learn to do these movements properly. With walking, you can get started without an instructor and still move closer toward your goals.
  • Walking is sustainable. As we age, we might not be able to continue certain activities, but if you build a walking habit early, you can stay active even if pick-up basketball or powerlifting is no longer an option (though you’ll be surprised how much you can do when you master the Habits of the Health!).
  • Walking can be social. Maintaining healthy relationships is an important Habit of Health, and one of the bonuses of a walking program is that you can bring a friend and talk while you walk. Building and nurturing these bonds of friendship can be just as impactful as the calories you burn!
  • You don’t need special equipment to do it. You can add steps in the comfort of your own home if you like by walking between rooms or by walking up and down your stairs.
  • A walking program often takes you outdoors, which has been proven to reduce stress and improve mental health, in addition to the benefit of burning calories.

How close are you to walking 10,000 steps a day? Are you making progress to gradually reach that goal? If you are, share your plan in the comments. If you have already reached 10,000 steps a day, share how you got there. Your journey could help someone else on theirs.