Be Heart-Smart: Take the Stairs or Park Farther from Your Destination

Be Heart-Smart: Take the Stairs or Park Farther from Your Destination

Healthline |
22 February 2017

When you have a busy schedule, it can be tricky to make sure you get enough exercise. To help you stay a little more active, consider if there are creative ways to build extra activity into your day—especially through walking. In the long run, a few extra steps can really add up.

It is recommended that adults exercise for 30 minutes per day, five days a week. While that might seem like a significant chunk of time to squeeze into your busy days, there is a silver lining: It is reported that you’ll still experience the benefits of exercise if you divide your sessions up into three 10-minute periods, rather than working out for a full 30-minutes stretch.

With that in mind, finding shorter opportunities to walk can be both easy and productive. It is suggested that walking is a great way to get your exercise because it is simple and people are more likely to stick with it.

Extra Steps to Better Heart Health
Fitting in more fitness doesn’t have to be hard. You can find ways to incorporate more physical activity without making major changes to your daily routine. Exercise is more than just going to the gym for formal workouts—anything that gets you moving can burn calories, including climbing stairs and the walking that you do while completing errands.

Today, as you go about your usual daily activities, see if you can find opportunities to take the stairs rather than an elevator or escalator to get where you’re going. Or, if stairs sound too challenging, try parking a bit farther than usual from your destination. This extra distance helps you build some extra walking time into your day.

Here are a few tips to help you squeeze in some extra steps, either on the stairs or between stops:

  • At the mall, take the stairs or walk up the escalator rather than standing still on it.
  • At work, if your floor is only a couple flights up, find the staircase rather than taking the elevator.
  • When driving to work, park five to 10 minutes away from your office, and enjoy a longer walk to and from work. Exercise caution if you plan to work late, and ensure that you’ll have enough light to find your way back to your car safely.
  • When driving to do an errand, park a few blocks away rather than right at the door of your destination—use the distance to squeeze in a walk.

Optional Challenge: Add Both Stairs and Extra Walking
Are you looking to give your activity level a bigger boost today? Challenge yourself to add both a set of stairs and some extra waking to your routine. Even if you work on a high level floor, you can always take the elevator part way, and use the stairs for the rest of the journey. For example, if you work on the eleventh floor, consider taking the elevator to the ninth floor, and walking up the last two flights of stairs. If you didn’t get a chance to add some extra walking to your day, go for a quick jaunt around the block when you get home.

HealthAhead Heart Hint
It’s not always easy to carve out a full, continuous half-hour for exercise. But on busy days, you can still get in extra steps if you’re creative about your approach. Take opportunities to ditch the elevator and take the stairs at work or while running errands. And, where it’s safe to do so, take the easy parking space and enjoy the opportunity to get a little extra walking. If you’re feeling ambitious, try both!