health, Mental Health, pilates, Wellbeing

#GoWalkingWithAnna

May is National Walking Month! I’ve decided to use this as prompt to get back into some healthier movement habits. The last 6 weeks I have spent a lot of time at my desk, and prior to that: W I N T E R. So, time to get moving again. I have decided to start simple: 10K steps every single day in May.

Personal motivation

  • I want to be active throughout the day, and I find that 10K is achievable within that but does stretch me to move more on “sedentary” desk-based days.
  • I know for me that it will kick start healthy movement habits. The more I move: the more I want to move, and move at a higher intensity.
  • I have a walking challenge in July that I want to start getting “walk-fit” for.
  • Walking / stepping is easy to incorporate into my day and doesn’t always have to equate to scheduling a run or gym session, though I’m sure these will not be off my physical activity menu!
  • I love the mental health benefits, especially at this time of year when it means getting out and connecting with nature, breathing in fresh spring air.
  • I know from personal experience that striding out for a longer walk after a period of being more sedentary, I really feel the toning effecting my glutes and legs, and greater mobility in my mid back.
  • I’m hoping it will boost my energy levels – like many women, I suffer with a real mid afternoon slump, so I am going to use walking as an alternative to snoozing, as well as keeping moving throughout the day to get my steps in, which will minimise longer periods of sitting at my desk, which I also think contributes to low perceived energy.
  • Bringing my FitBit out of retirement will make this an easy goal to monitor. There are lots of other apps available on iOS and Android.

The Science Bit for fellow Geeks

10,000 steps per day is actually pretty arbitrary in terms of movement goals, and doesn’t necessarily equate to an exercise intensity consistent with improving cardiovascular or metabolic health. Researchers have picked 10,000 steps in their studies and so the recommendations reflect those findings, but they didn’t necessarily investigate 8000 or 12,000 steps which may be more suitable goals if you are an older adult or a manual worker.

If you know you could be moving more, or have a lifestyle that creates barriers to movement, such as a desk job, a step count goal could be a good option for you. I would encourage anybody with pre-existing health conditions or injuries to establish a baseline average over the course of 5 or so days and then look to increase 10-15% on that, week on week.

The UK guidelines for daily physical activity for adults is 150 minutes per week or moderate intensity activity, which can be taken as 30 minutes over 5 days. Furthermore, those 30 minutes could be broken down into 3 x 10 minutes of moderate intensity. So while a step count goal is a good start, do remember that you aren’t going to meet your guideline activity intensity if you are just shuffling between the sofa and fridge multiple times a day! 😉

Over to You

Will you join me? Set a walking goal for the month of May, be it 10K steps, 5 miles a day, a weekend long distance walking challenge or just getting out with the family for a countryside or beach stroll. Start reaping the benefits of moving more and feeling well.

Share your walking goals and achievements on Instagram using the hashtag #GoWalkingWithAnna or tag me @basepilatesyork on Instagram or Facebook. I’ll be sharing tips, inspiration and my own “ramblings”*** throughout May!

***Apologies offered unreservedly 😉