When you think about improving your health or increasing your longevity, you probably picture yourself taking drastic measures like going vegan or switching to a lower-stress job. But there is actually one very simple way that you can get healthier and add years to your life, and almost everyone can do it.
At the European Society of Cardiology Congress, researchers presented evidence supporting the idea that a brisk, 25-minute daily walk can dramatically improve health. In fact, this simple habit can add three to seven years to your life!
But between work, family duties, and social obligations, it can be difficult to find time for exercise. Try these five methods to fit at least 25 minutes of walking into your daily schedule.
Break it up. If you can’t access a half-hour block of time, break up your walk into two or three sessions. Take the dog for a walk in the morning, do laps around the building or parking lot on your lunch break, and take a hike after dinner.
Be prepared at all times. Free moments come up throughout the day, but you probably spend them staring at your phone screen because there’s nothing else to do. Keep your walking shoes in your car, and consider stashing a spare pair under your desk at work. When free time pops up, you’ll be ready to spring into action.
Opt for inconvenience over convenience. We often focus on the fastest and easiest ways to get things done. But instead, park at the back of the parking lot when you go to the mall. Walk to the restaurant down the street instead of driving. Don’t sit on the bench while your kids are at soccer practice; walk laps around the park instead.
Get a buddy. Enlist a walking partner, and the social commitment will motivate you to show up. Walking will also be more fun since you’ll have company!
Multitask. Need to make a phone call, meet with your boss, or offer support to a friend during a personal crisis? Rather than scheduling coffee dates and sit-down meetings, suggest a walking appointment. Exercise boosts brain function, too, so your meetings and chats might actually become more productive.