If you can’t do anything else, walk

If I’m working at the office on a given day, and I know I’m not going to get a workout in that day, I will…

  • Sneak out during a 10 minute break for a walk around the complex.
  • Sneak out during the lunch break for a longer walk, around 1.5 miles, in the neighborhood.

This guarantees a few things:

  • Obviously, a calorie burn in line with the miles walked, usually around 200-250 calories total.
  • A residual calorie burn from the light effort, plus some more thanks to being out in the desert heat.
  • A very light aerobic workout that will still spark and develop mitochondria for use in future, more serious aerobic workouts.
  • Some fresh air outside of the office setting.
  • A chance to clear my head, reset, and not focus on work tedium for a little bit.
  • Some exercise! This is especially useful if you’ve had no other exercise that day.

When I’m working from home, and I don’t manage to get a workout in, I’ll at least take an extended walk either in the morning, or towards the evening when it cools off.

When I lived and worked in Seattle, I pretty much always had to go out to have lunch, so that guaranteed a lunch time walk. Food resources were rarely close by, and I was often in an office tower anyway. So I had to walk a few minutes each way… never minding the walk commute between work, buses, errands, home.

Obviously in Chicago, I still had to commute on foot, and while I was able more often to eat in, I still went out on foot and walked around a bit.

In my experience nowadays, if I get no exercise in a day, I have too much spare energy at bedtime and I struggle to get to sleep. Or I’m not suitably tired at day’s end to easily get to sleep.

Walking during breaks isn’t exactly a marathon, but the half hour or so spent walking outdoors is a lot more expended energy than sitting in all day and doing nothing. It’s a step in the right direction, and usually that’s suitable to get to sleep.

Likewise, in light of everyone needing some degree of exercise every day, walks like this are often all you need at minimum. It’s so much better for your health than nothing to take some sort of 20-30 minute walk a day. And yet so many people won’t even do that.

But not in my case.

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