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Our lives are busier than ever. Trying to balance work, relationships and commitments, all while trying to get enough sleep, eat right and stay active can be challenging. We know it can be especially hard to find time to exercise, but whether you’ve had an active lifestyle for many years or just wanting to kick start your fitness goals, walking is the perfect, low impact exercise that can easily fit into your life.

Just 30 minutes a day of brisk walking can increase your cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) fitness, reduce your risk of heart disease, increase your muscle strength and endurance, create a naturally upright posture and improve your spinal health.

Start by setting yourself realistic goals of when you can exercise. If you know you can’t make it to the gym every single day, don’t promise yourself you will. You could start by saying ‘I will go for a brisk walk for at least 30 minutes, on my lunch break, at least three times this week’. The more planned and thought out your activity is, the more likely you are to stick to it.

The great thing about walking is that it is flexible and can fit around you schedule. Here are a few ways to incorporate walking into your everyday routine.

  • Morning:Starting your day off with a walk is a great way to get your exercise done and dusted early. You might have to go to bed a bit earlier to squeeze in your 30-minute walk, but you will gain the energy you need to kick-start your day and feel accomplished.
  • In transit:Live in waking distance to the station or never any parking around work? Park a little further away from your destination and enjoy a brisk stroll. You can split your walk up between going from and coming home if you can’t do it all in one hit.
  • Lunch time: Everyone deserves a break, so commit to not working through lunch, or sitting down the whole time, and go for a midday walk. It’s a great way to clear your head, refresh yourself for the rest of the day, and get some fresh air. Grab a colleague and head out together to keep each other motivated.
  • Meetings: Is your day filled up with meetings? If you’re able, suggest a walking meeting. Being outdoors can help generate fresh ideas by stepping outside of your regular environment to help spark creativity and open conversations.
  • Afternoon/night: Sometimes it can take a little while to decompress after work. An afternoon 30-minute walk can help you relax into the evening. Use a walk to catch up with family and friends all while feeling the benefits of walking and exercise.

There are many ways to incorporate walking into your day, it’s simply a matter of finding what works for you, sticking to it, and creating the habit of putting your health first.

Rudi van Zyl