Okay, so I promised a much lighter post than those on Monday and Wednesday of last week. While I feel the information in those posts was really important, it is also very sobering, and I don’t want this blog to be about only one thing…so today we are going to talk about something that everyone understands…walking! (I know my friend Christine is going to like this post.)
I read an article in the Boston Globe the other day called 10,000 Steps Towards Wellness. It talked about a program being used at many companies that encourages people to walk to lose weight and improve health. It has been found that people walk much more when given specific goals of how many steps to take, as opposed to telling people to just “walk more.” (I talked about this recently in my post Goals!) It can be kind of fun to have a new “gadget” like a pedometer that counts your steps, and having a specific goal (10,000 steps is often used, which is the equivalent of about 5 miles) can make it kind of fun. But after a while the thrill of the pedometer can wear off. Enter COMPETITION. Yes, competition was found to be the key element necessary to keep people walking after the initial infatuation with the pedometer wore off. Which is why this can be a perfect corporate wellness tool, as there are lots of people within a company than can compete against each other. Groups of people can be divided into teams, or it can be done as individuals. One of my triathlon teammates was involved in such a competition at his work recently. He placed himself in the “advanced” group, rightly so given his fitness ability. And yet he found he was the one lagging within the group…not in last place, but certainly had some “catching up” to do.
I do a lot of my personal training at a large corporate facility. They are picking up on this idea also. I think it can be especially effective in such a group environment as for the most part, everyone can walk. The playing field is pretty even. No special skill required. And you can do it whether you work a lot (one executive reported holding “walking meetings”) or travel a lot (pedometer is small and can go anywhere with you). This time of year makes it even easier ~ the days are long, giving you time to walk in the morning before work or in the evening. The weather is warm, making the decision of what to wear and the need for special clothing a non-issue. Fresh air, listening to the birds, feeling the sun on your face…it’s all good.
Walking can be used by almost anyone ~ it is a great way to jump-start your fitness program. As you build up a base of fitness, consider walking some stairs or a hill, multiple times for an interval kind of workout. Challenge yourself to do a specific route in less time. Or do a loop in the opposite direction than you normally do. There are lots of ways to mix it up and make it interesting, just get out there and do it!