Get Results from Micro-Walks

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Get Results from Micro-Walks

Lack of time is one of the most oft-cited excuses for skipping exercise. To be sure, finding more than a few spare minutes at a time to devote to physical activity each day can be next to impossible. But sometimes a few spare minutes are all you need — add them all up, and they can make a difference. The issue of time, or the lack thereof, has given rise to the micro-walk trend, which involves taking several short walks throughout the day rather than devoting one large chunk of time to exercise. For many, this is both physically and logistically easier than a longer walk. While there is mounting evidence to support this practice, we explore some of the pros and cons below.

THE PROS OF MICRO-WALKS

THEY’RE EFFECTIVE

Research supports the claim that sitting for prolonged periods of time is bad for your health and that you should get up periodically throughout the day for short walk breaks to dramatically improve the cardiovascular risks associated with sitting. What’s more, some studies  have even suggested that breaking up daily walks into smaller segments — such as three 10-minute walks — works better for regulating things like blood pressure as opposed to one single 30-minute walk.

THEY’RE ACHIEVABLE

In terms of available time, walks broken up into shorter increments throughout the day are often more realistically achievable. Whether you have a few minutes on your lunch break or a small window of time between appointments, micro-walks can be a whole lot easier to get done than a longer session. What’s more, if you’re working to get into shape, shorter bouts of exercise may simply feel better than pronged workouts.

SOME WALKING IS BETTER THAN NONE

Studies have demonstrated that getting up and moving just 75 minutes a week — or 11 minutes a day — has the potential to combat the symptoms associated with arthritis, like stiff and aching joints. While the American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes a day,  there’s no doubt that even a few very short walks are better than nothing at all.  


READ MORE > THE 7-DAY WALKING PLAN


THE CONS OF MICRO-WALKS

EQUIPMENT CAN BE A CHALLENGE

If you hope to sneak in smaller walks during the day, it means that you must have appropriate footwear handy at all times. This may mean stashing a pair of walking shoes under your desk at work or in the trunk of your car. If the walk is short enough, more formal footwear may suffice, but be careful not to log too many steps in your work shoes.

YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER TO TAKE MULTIPLE WALKS

The beauty of taking a single, longer walk is that you can log those steps and then check exercise off your daily to-do list. Breaking the walk up into shorter bouts means you’ll have to remind yourself to squeeze them in throughout the day. The good news is that if you can build this approach into your routine by parking farther away or sneaking in a regular lunchtime jaunt, it becomes less likely that you’ll forget.

IT’S EASY TO GET SIDETRACKED

In addition to forgetfulness, having to schedule several walks throughout the day means there are multiple opportunities to get sidetracked. If you can get into the habit of having a walk be your go-to activity anytime a few minutes open up in your schedule, this is easily avoidable. It’s all about building these micro-walks into your lifestyle. Pretty soon this small chore will become a habit.

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  • Nikki Lamar

    This is very true I work a sedentary job and I am always up walking the room or in my work area. I normally dang near get my 12k step goal during and 8 hour shift because I stay on my feet.

  • WisdomSeeker

    Really enjoyed this encouraging article! Thanks for sharing this info; I’ll definitely keep it in mind!

  • Terence Belton

    Enjoyed the article, but when and if is it going to include and directed to those that are over 50. We are still learning the new information about diets and the effects it has upon our bodies (Dietetics and Nutrition). We still want to keep fit and live longer heathier. By the way I am 79

  • Colleen D.

    Getting mini walks in throughout the day has really helped me. I received a Fitbit for Christmas, and since using this and watching my diet I have lost 30 pounds. By the way, I started out trying to get 8,000 steps per day and have increased it to 10,000. I have a sedentary job, so when I have to take something up to our mail center or to someone in the office, I take the longest route possible, or I will just get up and take a break walking loops and the full length of the building (4 blocks) which takes 15 minutes, give or take a few.