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5 tips on how to get the most out of a walking program

Written by Dana Yarn, Registered Dietitian & Certified Personal Trainer

Walking tipsWhen I was younger I always used to think that walking was for "old people" or those who were beginners, but now that I have researched the damaging effects of sitting all day I think walking is one of the best things you can do for yourself!

1. Did you know in order to be classified as “active” in your daily lifestyle (not including exercise) you should be walking 10,000+ steps per day? The average working American thinks that they are active (because we work and over schedule our lives) but when they actually measured their activity with a device they were classified as sedentary. The bottom line is we do not move enough. Here are the general guidelines for activity measured in steps.

<5000 steps/day = sedentary
5000-7499 steps/day = somewhat active
7500-9999 steps/day = somewhat active
10,000-12,500 steps/day = active
>12,500 steps/day = highly active

Source -

2. Set a daily goal of how many steps you want to get in and buy an activity monitor to accurately measure your steps. The Fitbit is a great device that not only accurately measures steps but will effortlessly download to your computer so you can see the trend of your daily activity over time.

3. Make small lifestyle changes throughout the day. The most common things you can do include parking your car far away, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or going for walks after dinner instead of watching television. Sometimes even those things above will not get your daily activity to the “active level”. Other ideas include taking a work meeting with a colleague(s) outside for a walk around your building and use a voice recorder app on your phone to take notes instead of sitting and taking notes. Avoid going out to eat and sitting in a restaurant for your lunch break, instead bring your lunch to work and eat at your desk and use your lunch hour to go for a walk outside or if it is too cold or hot walk outside go to a local mall or store instead.

4. Go crazy when you clean at home. I noticed I was personally stacking items on the stairs so I would not have to make multiple trips, then I made it a rule to never leave things on the stairs and my daily steps started to multiple. Cleaning sessions can be done with the intention of getting a mild workout in, this way you have purpose and the session will probably be done more quickly.

5. Sign up for an event with a friend or local group from work, church or a social run/walk club, they are typically free and a great social outlet! A local 5k or 10k is a great starting option, when choosing an event. If you have registered for an event it gives you a deeper feeling of commitment and accountability to get in shape for it. You are less likely to skip workouts and walking/running sessions because you want to feel your best on “race day.”

Get out there and get those steps in!
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