In a world dominated by wearable technology, it's as common to track the amount of steps you take a day as it is to brush your teeth.
Crikey, my mother and aunt even have competitions to see who can walk the most steps in a day. But are all these steps doing us any good? And could they be as good as regularly hitting the gym?
Well, it's all relative.
We all know that moving more is the key to a healthier and happier life, so making an effort to walk as much as possible is a great place to start incorporating exercise into your day. Walking also carries a host of benefits.
1. You can do it anywhere, anytime
One of the greatest things about walking is that all you need is a pair of feet! There's no need for a gym membership, any expensive gear or even that much time. It only takes small changes to incorporate exercise into your daily routine. It's also a very accessible form of exercise for anyone with injuries due to it's low impact nature.
2. It can help you reduce body fat
Whilst walking alone won't dramatically change your body composition, it will help you burn calories which can lead to weight loss if you are burning more energy than you are consuming. Pick up the pace and hit the hills to increase your heart rate and increase your calorie expenditure.
3. It can help improve brain function
A 2013 study found that the further an older person with mild cognitive impairment can walk in 6 minutes, the better their performance in memory and logic tests. Taking a walk (especially outside) has also been shown to improve creativity.
4. It's a great form of LISS training
Whether you do it on a treadmill or out in the great indoors, walking is a great form of Low Impact Steady State exercise. You can read all about the benefits of LISS here.
There's no denying it, walking is great and we should all strive to do more of it. You should remember though that if you're looking to significantly change your body composition, increase your fitness levels or progress and challenge your physical abilities, then walking alone probably isn't enough. The best way to approach walking is as just one part of your active lifestyle and team it up with regular high intensity exercise to keep you motivated and engaged!