A Simple Exercise to Drop Some Weight, Boost Productivity and Make You Happier

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Participants make their way around the track during the Walk for Survivors Walk-A-Thon aboard Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan.
Participants make their way around the track during the Walk for Survivors Walk-A-Thon aboard Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan. (Cpl. Janessa Dugan/U.S. Marine Corps photo)

The benefits of walking are nearly endless and go so far beyond just burning calories. By walking, you can reset your work productivity, clear your mind and even feel more energized. Walking can be beneficial to your mental health, weight loss and maintenance, and be better for the environment than driving.

Want to add a little more walking to your life? Here are some easy ways. You can build up many miles, even with these short, 10-minute bursts spread throughout the day.

Ideas for Walking More

Mental health walk. If you are feeling anxious and just need to think about something challenging, take a walk and see whether you become more focused and can figure out solutions to typical daily problems. I find these are great to wake up first thing in the morning, during a quick lunch break or after the day is done.

After the meal walk challenge. Try to walk 10 minutes after every meal you eat. It will shorten the amount of time you spend grazing after your meal and help you burn some calories. Weight maintenance and weight loss can be done, using this simple method. If you have more time to walk later in the day, add it and build up a good amount of time on your feet. Walking before the meal also could be beneficial.

Writer's block. When I cannot figure out something to write about, going for a 10- to 15-minute walk can be the very thing that allows the creativity to flow again. In fact, this article was created in just that way.

Walk the dog. You should feel obligated to your dog, as they also need to stay healthy. If both you and your dog are starting to show signs of extra weight, take your buddy with you for a walk. You will find that just like children, dogs need some exercise to help them behave themselves. Walking also activates the smelling nose brain they are wired to operate regularly. Walking is good for the dog's mental health, too.

Children's sports time. If you have young kids that are on soccer fields or playing other outdoor sports, walk around the fields as many times as you can during practice. You may find other parents who will join you, too.

Shopping center. Anytime you go to a shopping center, park in a safe area a little farther away than necessary. You will not have a hard time finding a parking spot, for sure. Then, as you move from store to store, continue to walk instead of getting in your car and driving closer to the next store. That will add time to your trip, but if you find what you need to buy quickly, you may then have more time to walk a little more.

Walk work meetings vs. lunch meetings. Living or working close to a walking path or park is ideal for talking business. Setting a time to walk 10-15 minutes before lunch, which could let the meeting move into a longer walk and shorter lunch if things are going well. Walking and getting the creative juices and energy flowing is an excellent tool for such meetings, versus sitting in a conference room or busy restaurant.

Track your steps. Keep your phone on you and use the health app or find a walking pedometer app that tracks your movement throughout the day. By adding a few short walks into your day, you will be surprised by the number of steps you added and the calories you burned. A good standard to work up to is 10,000 steps per day. However, anywhere from 5,000-8,000 steps is considered healthful and beneficial for so many reasons.

Consistency. The name of the game, though, is consistency. You must work hard to make this a habit. Find indoor options for walking, like malls or an indoor track, when the weather does not cooperate. Resort to just walking hallways and flights of stairs for an even more challenging walking session. Set up your day to include some form of walking, even if only for 10 minutes at a time.

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