March Challenge: Walking Daily

What can you accomplish in a month? According to science, that’s all it takes to start forming a new habit, and good habits lead to good results. That’s the goal behind our Monthly Challenge, to help you create the right habits – physically and mentally – to make significant strides toward your best, healthiest self.

Whether we realize it or not, our lives are more sedentary than at any time in human history.

According to the American Heart Association, sedentary careers have increased 83% since 1950, and a typical office worker may sit for as much as 15 hours a day. And then they sit in their car on the way home only to … sit more! Between television and digital devices, the average American sits for at least 10 hours a day, according to getamericastanding.com.

That is a lot of not moving, which is not good for our physical and mental health.

Sitting for even four hours a day greatly increases your risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and obesity, and an analysis of 13 studies concluded that those who sat for more than 8 hours a day “had a risk of dying similar to the risks of dying posed by smoking.” And that doesn’t even factor in how studies have found a link between inactivity and depression and anxiety.

Obviously, we need to get off our butts more.

The challenge: Go for a walk every day

Here’s an infomercial pitch for you: In just 30 minutes a day, you can increase your cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. You can even reduce your risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and some cancers.

And the best part of all? It’s free! No four easy payments of $19.95. No special equipment or training. Free!

The only problem with this infomercial is you’d have to be sitting and watching TV to see it, which is the opposite of what you should be doing …

Look, it doesn’t matter whether you choose to go for 10,000 steps or 30 minutes of brisk walking a day. Either will significantly improve every aspect of your health. And while modern advancements are a big reason behind our ever-increasing sedentary lifestyle, they can also help with this goal. For example, there are several smartwatches with health trackers to count steps. Your phone probably has it, too. And even if you hate all modern technology, you no doubt own a clock and can go for a walk only to return 30 minutes later.

And seriously, when was the last time you just went for a walk? To clear your head, enjoy being outside, have a little time to yourself, or catch up with a walking buddy? It doesn’t matter the reason, just that you get up and start doing it.