Do you want to have more energy and be more creative?
Go out for a 40-minute walk, and you will feel better. Or 30… or just 20 minutes.
It doesn’t matter if you go to a gym or run every other day. Walking has tremendous health benefits and helps you clear your head.
In this post, I will give you lot’s of ideas about how to make walking a part of your day.
For example, listen to audiobooks while walking. You can listen to two audiobooks every month if you walk 30 minutes every day.
A great way to learn about a new location is a running tour. When you visit Estonia, come to a running tour of Tallinn with me.
What is the Minimum Time to Exercise Daily to Keep Healthy?
We are all busy, and the minimum time to exercise daily will help us be healthy and spend as little time on it as possible? Get 20 minutes of exercise every day. 20 minutes can be just walking at a fast pace. Running for 20 minutes can be hard for beginners. Walk 10-12 minutes and go as far as you can, then head back. Run or jog some of the distance. The important part is how long you keep going, not how far you go.
20 minutes is the minimum daily exercise, but I would suggest 30-40 minutes. However, don’t overdo it. Fast walking, an easy jog, no panting, walk if you need rest.
If you haven’t moved a muscle in 10 years, start with 10-minute walks. Add just one minute every day, and you will get to 40-minute walks by the end of the month. Make it your 30-day challenge.
From couch potato to daily walking habit
I have a friend for whom getting up from the couch is a win.
For him, the first steps should be easy.
If you have not moved a lot lately, then make your goal as easy as possible.
The absolute minimum you can do is stand up.
When you have done that, walk around in your room.
That’s enough to start, but if you feel adventurous, then go out.
Walk 5 minutes at a brisk pace, then turn around and walk back.
On the next day walk 5 minutes and 30 seconds and then come back.
In one month, you will be walking 35 minutes every day. You will see the results and, then you can decide if you will say in the 30 to 40 minutes a day range or want to go longer.
Use a fitness app to make it easy to measure the progress you have made.
Almost all fitness apps count steps. 20 minutes of walking is approximately 2,500 steps. If you already move a lot, then you have no problem adding a single block of time to walk for 30 to 40 minutes.
During your workday, when you feel that you are stuck or just tired, go out and walk a little. After walking, you will have more energy, fresh ideas, and generally, feel better. If you create a habit out of walking for exercise, you will reap long-lasting health benefits which include:
- Better memory and cognitive function, a greater volume of gray matter (study)
- Less stress and better mood (study)
- reduced the risk of heart disease by 9.3%
- the risk of high blood pressure reduced by 7.2%
- high cholesterol risk lowered by 7%
- risk of diabetes reduced by 12%
- Longer life (study)
These benefits are higher than the number you would get from the same level of running. Walking is preferable to running also because it does not make you sweat. You don’t have to waste time getting into the running outfit and showering after the exercise. However, I suggest that if possible, wear running shoes to make your walks more comfortable. When you get more experience, then you can start doing crazy things like using running sandals.
You don’t need a destination or a path to follow. Just walk 10 to 15 minutes in any direction and then turn around and retrace your steps.
The best thing one can do when it’s raining is to let it rain. ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
What to wear for a walk?
If the temperature is above 68F or 20C then clothing is not a problem.
When the weather is cold, then dress in something is almost warm when you are standing still. As soon as you start your walk your body will generate heat to keep you in the comfortable range.
But if you are OK with getting sweaty, then you can put on clothes that keep you warm even when you stand still. Standing still and sweat are a combination that will become a problem when there’s a strong wind. If the weather is windy then you put on your most wind-proof clothes.
In the worst case scenario, you will also have rain or snow chucking down on you. Make sure you wear something wind-proof and water resistant. When you have appropriate clothing, then you can turn the walk in the stormy weather into an experience. Sometimes I pack myself in real tight and go out in the worst weather. In right clothing you are like an astronaut in a space suite and the environment doesn’t affect you.
What about footwear? Although they say in a song that these boots were made for walking and that’s what they are gonna do I recommend running shoes. Running shoes are the best footwear for comfortable running and walking.
The weather might be a problem. High wind and rain may make walking less enjoyable, but if you have the appropriate clothing, this will not keep you indoors.
There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing. ― Alfred Wainwright
Watch this video for more detail: 23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?
In this video, the doctor answers the old question, “What is the single best thing we can do for our health” in a completely new way. Dr. Mike Evans is the founder of the Health Design Lab at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, an Associate Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of Toronto, and a staff physician at St. Michael’s Hospital.
Walking doesn’t have to be only walking. For once you can do two things at the same time. Combine walking with something else.
11 ideas when to go for a walk
Going out just for a walk is a great idea, similar to meditating. But you can combine walking with other activities. Here are some examples what you can do:
1. Walk when you are sleepy
Drink a cup of coffee or bring it with you and go for a 20-minute walk. Caffeine will kick in after about 20 to 40 minutes. You will get the invigorating boost from walking combined with the effects of caffeine.
2. Walk when you are angry
There is probably no better way to let off steam than go for a long walk. When emotions flare up, and you feel that the situation is not going in the right direction, take some time off and go for a walk. You can cool down and consider the point of view of the other side and think it through.
3. Walk when you need to think
Humans are walking animals. In our hunting and gathering days, our brains learned to be alert while we were moving. There may be threats, food, or mating opportunities. Use walking to boost your thinking and when you need to find new ideas or solutions to difficult problems.
Combine walking with idea-generating exercise. Before you go out, think of a topic for which you will generate ideas. When you are walking for 30 to 40 minutes, try to come up with as many ideas.
Use your phone’s voice recorder to capture the ideas you have generated. You can even try the voice to text feature so that your ideas will be in a neat text format after you complete your daily walking session.
Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far. – Thomas Jefferson
4. Walking meetings
Thinking is something you do alone, but you can ask others to walk with you to discuss the issues you may have at work. Some teams and companies have walking meetings to be more creative.
Many high performers have been big fans of walking during the meetings. Scientists, inventors, writers, and many others have used walking to generate ideas and make their thinking processes clearer.
- Mark Zuckerberg
- Steve Jobs
- Sigmund Freud
- Harry S. Truman
- Charles Dickens
- Jeff Weiner
- Henry Thoreau
As mentioned above, many entrepreneurs hold walking meetings. However, this depends on your geographic location and weather. If you live in the colder areas, then there may be times when rain is falling sideways, and the temperature is below freezing.
In those situations, you may forget the habit of walking meetings. Set yourself repeating reminders around the time where the weather gets better in the spring to schedule walking meetings.
5. Walk when you need to make phone calls
Productive people batch their smaller tasks into larger blocks of time. Phone calls are perfect for batching. Make a list of people you have to call and estimate the time it would take. Go for a walk, and make the phone calls.
To make it more convenient, use wireless headphones with a microphone. Some passersby may think you are talking to yourself, but never mind that.
6. Walk to listen to audiobooks and podcasts
Become a sponge of new information. Walking is perfect for listening to audiobooks and podcasts. If you walk 40 minutes every day, then you will average 4 hours and 40 minutes per week. An average audiobook is somewhere between 7 to 10 hours long.
Even if you only listen to audiobooks while walking, you would finish 25 books per year.
7. Walk when traveling
You are traveling to a new location. Don’t take taxis or other transportation to explore the surroundings. Plan a walking tour using Google Maps. Walk, rest, eat for hours to get the feeling of the location you are visiting.
8. Walk when you take a break
The most effective breaks happen when you disconnect and move around outside with friends or colleagues. Try to be fully detached and be in nature, or at least a park. Even if you don’t have a park nearby, walking on a city street is still better than no walking.
9. Walk with your loved ones
Go out for a walk with your family and friends. If possible, walk your kids to school or kindergarten. Take a few hours on the weekend and go to a nearby park. Or better yet, go to nature, hike the mountains or forests, whatever you like best.
In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. – John Muir
10. Transportation to places
Whenever possible, walk to your destination. Walking to your destination is feasible when the distances are in the 2 to 4-mile range (3 to 6 kilometers). At a usual pace, these distances would take 40 to 90 minutes. Of course, you may not have 90 minutes every day, but walk 40 minutes every day anyhow. Combine that walking with getting to places you have to be.
You may think you don’t have the time to walk, but you do. If you choose to walk to your destination, that is 40 minutes away; then, you don’t have to walk just for walking’s sake.
When you go somewhere, that is one hour of walking away, then you don’t have to walk back. Take a bus, taxi, or Uber.
In today’s world, it’s almost unavoidable to use a car. Yes, I know it’s avoidable. But if you have three kids and have to get them to school and other activities in different locations around the city, then the car is almost unavoidable.
Add some walking to your daily commute. Park to the faraway spot in the parking lot when you go to the grocery store. It’s usually easier to find a place farther away. Sometimes, far away parking spots may be cheaper or free, plus you get to improve your health — a win-win situation.
11. Walking a dog
This is not for everybody, but… Dogs are fantastic in their own right, but they give their owners a reason to walk.
Every day, no matter what the weather is.
I started to exercise regularly because I had to walk a dog. In the beginning, I walked. After a while, I began to switch from walking to running and then back to walking every four minutes.
Now I’m a runner.
Now I’m an ultrarunner.
You should walk your dog three times a day. Most of us fail to do it and usually walk our dogs two times a day. However, walking your dog properly twice a day will give you at least an hour of walking time.
Walking a dog also allows you to meet other people. Dogs work as an Icebreaker and magnet combined.
Walking is human.
We have done it for hundreds of thousands of years.
But walking is also great for dogs. Dogs are one of the few land animals that can out-endurance humans.
There’s no reason to stop now. Try to find at least 20 minutes every day and go for a walk. Daily walking habit will improve your life tremendously.
If you don’t have a dog, start a dog walking service where you get all the benefits of walking, plus earn money doing it.
Coronavirus side note
In the beginning of 2020 COVID19 hit the world. The spread of the virus was so rapid that many governments decided to lockdown every non-essential business and service.
The goal of the lockdown was to minimize the spread of the virus by avoiding human contact.
No restaurants, no cinemas, no museums, or gyms.
What can you do in this situation?
Go for a walk. In the park or nearby wilderness. In the nature, reserve or just a beautiful spot in the nature.
Even if you live in a big city, go out on the street for a 30 to 40-minute walk.You can do any activity I mentioned above. Maybe you would want to avoid meeting other people in walking meetings, but everything else is OK.
Taking walking to the extreme
How long can you walk?
The longest time people walk non-stop is 87 hours non-stop. The records for men and women are almost the same. The women’s record holder is my fellow Estonian Agne Truss.
The longest walking race takes place in Stockholm, Sweden. All the participants walk at a 5kmph pace. When you stop, you are out of the race. You have 24 minutes per day for pauses. The toilets are rolling along on the trailers.
The race ends when the second to last walker stops, and there’s only one walker left.
The current record is 439 kilometers in 87 hours and 48 minutes.
If you feel this is something you want to do, then you can sign up here.
Now get off the internet and go out!
Oh… Wait… Before you go sign up for our daily tips.
Bonus: The Scientific 7-Minute Workout
But what if you don’t want to leave your apartment? Maybe it’s raining, or there’s a blizzard outside. Here’s the 7-minute exercise that’s not fun, but effective.
The exercises should be performed in rapid succession, allowing 30 seconds for each, while, throughout, the intensity hovers at about an 8 on a discomfort scale of 1 to 10, Mr. Jordan says. Those seven minutes should be, in a word, unpleasant. The upside is, after seven minutes, you’re done.
- Original study: Walking Versus Running for Hypertension, Cholesterol, and Diabetes Mellitus Risk Reduction
- Guardian article: Brisk walk healthier than running – scientists
Everything You Know About Fitness is a Lie
Gym machines are boring, CrossFit is sadistic, and dieting sucks. Luckily, none of them is essential to being truly fit. Through years of trial and error — and humiliation at the hands of some of the world’s top trainers — Daniel Duane discovered the secrets to real health. ~ Everything You Know About Fitness is a Lie, Men’s Journal Magazine
First, I realized that we all live in a kind of Fitness Fog, a miasma of lies and misinformation that we mistake for common sense, and that makes most of our gym time a complete waste.
Second, and by far the bigger news, I finally figured out what gyms are good for and exactly how a man can use them to make himself healthy and fit in the truest sense: strong, capable, and durable in the long-lasting way that doesn’t just ward off chronic disease but actually lets a 35-year-old desk drone carry both of his laughing children up a mountain, simultaneously, and take on serious skiing at age 40, trusting his knees to bend deep and firm.
Do you want to get your fitness level on track? Willpower books let you get more willpower. Dig into our list of books. Find out how willpower works and motivate yourself not to fall back to old ways.
Image by lindejesus