It’s difficult being active when we are hard pressed for time. If you want to get fit fast without hitting the gym, try walking.
Yep, walking. Hong Kong is a fast-paced place, but you can always take it slow, steady, and easy. Here are some good reasons to start walking:
- You’re already trained on it
- It’s good for all ages
- It can easily fit your schedule
- It’s free
- It burns calories
How much walking?
A brisk walk of 30 minutes each day is enough – a stroll around the park is good for health, mood, and networking! You should be sweating but not out of breath.1
Half an hour each day? That’s too much!
Busy? Not a problem. Start with a 10-minute brisk walk. As you start enjoying it, it will be easier to fit in your schedule. Then you can increase it to 30 minutes later or have three sessions of 10 minutes each. You can even increase the intensity by jogging or cycling. The more you exercise, the better.1
- Your heart rate improves
- Your weight reduces
- You stay away from diabetes
- You get strong bones and joints
- No stress
- No anxiety
- Less depression 2
- Boosted self-esteem
- A better night sleep 2,3
And that’s not all.
Walking can also help in improving your memory4.
You KNOW it is good for you, still don’t wanna try? We all have been there.
Here are some ideas that might encourage you to get up. Well, they worked for us!
Buy a cool gadget like a pedometer: With a pedometer, you can keep track of the number of steps you have taken. Play it like a game where you have to beat your last score. Aim for around 10,000 steps per day.
Form a walking club: You can always get a friend, a family member or a pet to walk with you. In this way, walks will be fun and you’ll be less likely to skip the walks.
Plan it: Plan the walking schedule for the week ahead. If there is another activity that clashes with your walking time, change the walking time instead of canceling it. At the end of the day, write down how much you’ve accomplished – the time you walked, the speed or any unusual experience etc.
Stick to it: There are some days when it’s difficult to stick to the schedule. For example, if you have guests over for the weekend, you might not be able to walk. Instead of leaving it out, do some other physical activities to compensate for the loss. Every bit counts.5
- Start Active, Stay Active: A report on physical activity for health from the four home countries’ Chief Medical Officers. Department of Health, 11 July 2011.
- Physical Activity. Mind UK. Visited 18 February 2016.
- Walking and the preservation of cognitive function in older populations. Prohaska TR, Eisenstein AR, Satariano WA et al. Gerontologist. 2009 Jun;49 Suppl 1:S86-93.
- Sleep Advice: Exercise. Sleep Council. Visited 18 February 2016.
- Randomised controlled trial of home-based walking programmes at and below current recommended levels of exercise in sedentary adults. Tully MA et al. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health 2007: 61; 778-783.