Walking is an Excellent Form of Cross Training

Walking and running seem like very similar activities, but they are different enough that you could consider them cross training.  Walking is a weight bearing exercise but it doesn’t put nearly the same amount of force on your legs or bones, and because you use your muscles differently you can build a little extra strength and stretch yourself out with a good hike or even a brisk walk through a parking lot.

Many doctors recommend that you try to walk at least 10,000 steps per day, which is about the equivalent of 5 miles.  That may seem daunting, but you’d be surprised by how much you are probably walking already just in the normal course of your every day life.

The easiest way to get an accurate measure of how many steps you are taking every day is to purchase a pedometer.  Most pedometers count your steps by detecting the motion of your hips through a mechanical sensor.

Many health care providers will provide you with a cheap pedometer if you ask for one. Simple ones will tell you how many steps that you have taken; slightly better ones can be programmed with your stride length to give you an approximate distance.

I got a pedometer when I was a kid in an effort to figure out how far I was running, but it was not very accurate. They have certainly improved quite a bit since then, and you could probably find an app for your phone that would use the accelerometers built in to modern smart phones to act as a pedometer for you. Alternatively, if you want a more accurate one, you can even get ones that special shoes that have chips that will talk to your iPod or iPhone and are accurate to within about 2% of your actual distance traveled.

Adding additional steps into your normal routine doesn’t have to be difficult.  By actually going out for a 10 or 20 minute walk in your neighborhood or on your lunch break you can get quite a few recorded.

One of the easiest tips that I can think of to walk further in a day without even noticing is to be mindful of where you park. When you pull into a parking lot, just park in the first empty space that you see near the back.

Not only will you have to walk the extra distance to the store or to your office, but you will also waste less time driving around trying to find a spot close to the doors, you will be less likely to have somebody park next to you and ding your doors, and the whole experience will generally be less stressful, a win/win situation.

So, the next time that you are a little sore from your running or you just want to get some cross training in, head out for a walk.