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Can I just bust one of the biggest fitness myths ever?
You don’t need a gym membership or expensive equipment to improve your health and fitness. Nope. All you need is a pair of decent runners and you’re good to go. Walking (yep, just plain old walking) is an awesome and effective way to help you reach your fitness goals.
A brisk walk can get your heart rate up and burn calories. Speed and distance will determine how much you burn, but it’s a gentle way to work out at your own pace. Walking is also the perfect excuse to meet up with friends. You can meet at your local park or beach track and catch up on the latest goss – plus, it’s a great way to keep each other accountable and support each other’s fitness journeys.
The steps to successful weight loss
You’ve probably heard that 10,000 steps is the golden number to take each day. This is approximately eight kilometres or an hour and 40 minutes of walking. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to be solidly walking for this long; you’ll naturally accumulate steps through your day to day activities. But to hit this golden number, you’ll probably need to add on a 30-minute walk or workout.
The number of steps needed for successful weight loss depends on the individual. If you’re new to exercise, you may feel 10,000 is too high; and if you’re already active, you may feel it’s way too low. Regardless, 10,000 steps is a good baseline and should eventually become your daily average.
How to measure your steps
There are loads of fitness trackers on the market, so there’s one to suit your budget. Some are simpler while others track everything from your steps to your oxygen levels while you sleep and even your menstrual cycle – impressive, huh?
To set your step goal, track your steps for a week and use that figure as your baseline. Then add 1,000 daily steps to that figure – so if your average is 6,000 steps, aim for 7,000 steps a day.
If you’re already active and you want a challenge, add an extra 5,000 steps to your day by going for a 4km run. This will burn approximately 1,000 to 1,750 extra calories a week.
How to reach 10,000 steps
There are loads of easy ways to up your steps without you even noticing. I know some are obvious, but a few small changes can make a big difference. Try:
- Taking the stairs up at work instead of the lift. This will also help tone and strengthen your glutes – you’re welcome.
- Working out in the park. All TIFFXO workouts can be down anywhere, anytime, and will have you kicking, squat jumping and boxing your way fit. Plus, they’re under 20 minutes so you can do them at lunchtime.
- Walking to the train station or bus stop. Even if it’s only a 15-minute walk, do it twice a day (Monday to Friday) and that’s a bonus 150 minutes of physical activity a week!
- Walking to work 2-3 times a week. Just pack a change of clothes, head out the door in your exercise gear and enjoy how much a walk clears your head before you enter the office.
- Signing up to a fun run. The training before the event will help you smash your daily target. I recently participated in an event where I climbed a whopping 7,600 stairs!
Walking should be part of your everyday. It’s free, perfect for all ages and fitness levels, and is a wonderful add-on to any fitness regime. And remember, every journey starts with a single step.
Tiffiny Hall is a fitness expert and founder of online health and fitness program TIFFXO.