Is it time for you to step it up a notch?
Be honest, how many steps do you really do a day? With a host of health apps and fitness smart watches currently on the market, there really is no excuse not to get step-up your stepping game.
The NHS recommends that we take 10,000 steps a day (which roughly equates to 30 minutes of exercise). Yet, a recent study conducted at Stanford University found that the global average for steps taken per day is a meagre 4,961! Although the UKâ€™s average is above this stat – we Brits walk around 5,444 steps per day – it’s still a far cry from the suggested amount.
For the chronically busy amongst us, 30 minutes a day can seem overwhelming, but there are a myriad of ways to incorporate even three shorter 10-minute walks into your daily routine. Why not have informal walking meetings, or get off a tube stop early? It all adds up!
And if you want to boost your walking habits with an extra dose of wellness, swap striding on pavements for paths or grass in green spaces. This will not only improve your mood and get the creative juices flowing, but more importantly help to reduce feelings of stress and depression.
Ben advises that a good walking technique is key to ensure your back is properly supported. Tighten your stomach muscles to engage your core and support your entire body weight. Spinal alignment is vital! Try to stand up straight and keep your chin parallel to the ground. Let your arms swing naturally and roll through your foot from heel to toe. If something hurts, or doesnâ€™t feel right, stop. This is a great opportunity for you to become more in-tune with your body and will help you become more self-aware of niggles or tension.
Despite Londonâ€™s status as a concrete metropolis, the city is fortunate to have a host of stunning parks and green spaces all over the capital. Why not try and find a new local park near your home or office to walk in â€“ itâ€™ll do wonders for your wellbeing. Once you start to implement conscious walking into your schedule, you wonâ€™t look back!
As you move your body weight from heel to toe try and make a slight rolling motion inwards. This will help you when you push off with your foot and will give you a faster stride. Did you know that speed walking can burn as many calories as jogging, especially if your posture is correct? Try and hold your ribcage up and your tummy muscles in.
Itâ€™s also a good idea to shorten your strides; this will reduce the strain on your knees, calves and shins. Make sure you get the right technique as you start off so that bad habits donâ€™t develop! Getting the right footwear is also key to ensuring you establish a good walking method. When buying shoes, youâ€™re going to walk in make sure you go at the end of the day as your feet will be a little swollen meaning youâ€™ll purchase the right size. Itâ€™s important that your toes have room to move and that your heel doesnâ€™t slip. This will give you ample support both in your ankle and further up in your lower back. A neutral sole is recommended, as this encourages the muscles in your feet to strengthen, rather than relying on a foam sole to do the work for them.
London Wellness’s Ben Searle-Baker encourages incorporating walks â€“ whether that be one long one, or a few shorter ones into your daily routine. Itâ€™ll soon become a habit you wonâ€™t want to give up! And by releasing endorphins and boosting Vitamin D levels, walkingâ€™s benefits are sure to leave you feeling refreshed, energised and all-round happier.
So, download that latest health app to your phone, or set your smart-watch to 10,000 steps a day and start walking!
Visit our London Wellness website at www.thisislondonwellness.com to learn more about the benefits of preventative healthcare for you and your family.