Karen Hiser

Article Summary:

Learn how to stay in shape while you travel by starting a walking program.

Travel Fitness: Walking for Road Warriors

Walking is a fabulous and fabulously easy way to get your exercise. It's a great way to get in shape and stay in shape, whether you're on the road or at home. I like walking for a variety of reasons:

It's easier on the joints and muscles than running. As a result, it's more fun, and you'll recover faster and be less prone to injuries.

Other than a good pair of shoes, walking doesn't require any special equipment or clothing.

Anyone at any fitness level can participate.

Walking can be done in short bursts; for example, in between client meetings, after dinner, or while you wait for your connecting flight.

When it's hot out, I can walk without getting as sweaty as when I am running, hopefully negating the need to take a second shower during an already busy travel day.

I get to see the sights in the town that I'm visiting.

Unlike when I'm working out in the hotel gym, my coworkers can't track me down while I'm walking.

And, finally:

Walking for 30 minutes at a 4 mph pace burns about 100 calories per 100 pounds of body weight. Not too shabby!

Starting with the Proper Fit
Walking requires a single but extremely important piece of equipment: good shoes. Wearing shoes that don't fit or don't properly support your feet can result in almost immediate injury, resulting not only in discomfort and pain, but also discouraging you from achieving your goals. The definition of a good shoe is one that fits you, not necessarily one that's expensive. Skip the trendy stores in the mall and seek out a running shoe store staffed by professionally trained shoe fitters.

Starting Your Program
Many experts recommend targeting 10,000 steps per day as a realistic goal. Although the distance that you'll walk in 10,000 steps will vary based on your stride length, 10,000 steps equates to about five miles for most of us, which is right on target with the government's recommendation for 60 minutes of exercise per day.

An inexpensive pedometer will help you track your steps. You'll find plenty of models in the $15 to $25 price range at your local sporting goods store or online. Look for a comfortable, lightweight model. Consider getting a model with a clock so that you can avoid missing your client meeting!

Wear your pedometer for a few days to monitor your baseline steps per day. If you're like me, you'll be disappointed to see how few steps you take during a normal workday. Don't be discouraged, however. There are plenty of easy ways to increase your normal steps per day, so that you won't have to devote substantial time to your new program, like parking in the furthest spot, skipping the people movers and escalators, and making use of your flight layover time.

Once you've determined your baseline steps per day, set a schedule for yourself to reach your goal of 10,000 steps. If you're not exercising regularly, plan on increasing your steps by 150 to 250 per day (or roughly 10% of your baseline). Folks already exercising three or more times per week can plan a more aggressive schedule and target a 300 to 400 step increase per day.

For example, if your baseline is 2,500 steps, you'll need about 30 days to reach your 10,000 steps goal. If your goal is more than 30 days away, consider setting incremental goals at 5,000 and 7,500 steps.

Make regular walking part of your travel routine. Before you know it, you'll be walking 10,000 steps per day, everyday!

Karen Hiser is the owner and Chief Fitness Officer of Healthy Travel Network. Healthy Travel Network is the premier resource for business travelers who want to stay fit on the road. Our monthly newsletter and Travel Fit Tips cover a wide range of fitness and health related travel information, such as how to get the best hotel room workout and how to eat healthy while you dine out.

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