You can still get your steps and beat the heat even if you’re not able to use your favorite indoor walking locations. The weather is heating up, but many of the best indoor walking locations are closed or more difficult to access. You can still get your daily recommended steps in comfort, however, whether that means walking at home or taking your walks outside. Stay cool and keep moving this summer to keep up your fitness and stay healthy.
Here’s how to get your steps more comfortably this summer even if you can’t easily walk indoors. We’re covering tips on how to walk outdoors and walk at home, plus a few tips for people in apartments and detached houses.
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Get creative to beat the heat
As the weather heats up, it’s natural to seek out cooler areas to get your steps more comfortably. With many indoor walking areas either closed or difficult to access, you’ll need to get creative to get your steps in. It’s important to stay fit and stay healthy, even if you’re working from home. Staying active and moving is a big part of that.
Take it outside
You can still get your steps outside in summer, but it pays to avoid the hottest times of the day. You’ll also want to find a shaded walking location if possible and take the right gear.
Walk early or walk late
Get your steps early in the morning or later in the evening when the temperatures are milder. A morning walking routine is one of the best ways to get your steps before distractions can interfere with your day. Walking after dinner can help you eat a lighter meal, as well as replace some normally sedentary time with active walking.
As an added benefit, there will likely be fewer people out walking which can help make social distancing even easier. This is especially important in cities or heavily trafficked areas where access to a jogging trail or lonely roads is limited. Make sure to be safe when walking in low-light. Wear light or reflective clothing, and be aware of traffic around you just in case. Walking with family members can help make your walks safer as well, particularly in the evening.
Find a shaded path (or hiking trail)
If you have access to a car, try to find a wooded park or hiking area that’s within driving distance to get your steps. You’ll feel much cooler walking in the shade, and you’ll get the benefits of being outdoors in a nature setting. As with walking in the morning or at night, there will probably be few people out walking or jogging.
Carry water and potentially a light snack depending on how long you’ll be out. If you’re going to a remote area, make sure to alert a safety contact and let them know when you expect to be back. They can get help if you have an accident and can’t get cell service or your phone battery dies.
Wear the right gear
The right gear makes all the difference with hot weather walking. Wear light, moisture-wicking fabrics. A good pair of compression shorts and summer socks can make walking much more comfortable. You don’t want a shirt or other clothes that will get heavy with sweat or bunch up either.
Sun protection is important as well. Sunscreen should cover exposed areas, and a hat and sunglasses can help you walk in comfort. Alternatively, you can look into light sun-protection shirts or pants that can help block UV light and protect your skin.
Work out at home
If it’s raining, very hot, or you don’t have an easy outdoor walking location available then make the most of an in-home workout.
Do an non-cardio workout
Walking is a great exercise, but it’s not the only exercise. Try practicing activities you can do at home that can help you build strength and flexibility or burn calories. You’ll pick up a fun new skill and you’ll have something to do when you can’t get out and walk – even if it burns fewer calories.
Yoga and pilates are great in-home activities that can be done by people of all fitness levels. All you need is a mat and some floor space, plus a laptop or phone to play a demonstration video. That same mat is perfect for bodyweight strength or core workouts at home as well. It’s still important to do cardio exercise, but getting some exercise is better than no exercise.
Walk in place (or around the house)
Get your steps by walking in place or pacing while watching TV or doing other at-home activities. While it’s hard to keep up the same pace that you’d get on a walking trail, you can get a significant amount of steps at a time when you’d normally just be sitting on the couch. You can even run in place, at least in short bursts. Walking helps boost your mood, energy and creativity so getting some walking at home can help lift your spirits. If you’re working from home, try taking a minute or two of walking in place when you get bogged down for a productivity boost.
Do cardio, but in a different way
Walking isn’t the only form of in-home cardio that you can do. Dancing, aerobics, cardio kickboxing and other classes can be a fun way to get moving and burn calories. Many gyms have begun offering online “group” exercises where you can work out along with a live instructor. This can help motivate you to move, because you’ll schedule a set time that you commit to working out. Alternatively, you can look for videos on YouTube or other platforms and work out at your own pace.
While it may be harder to get out and walk if you live in a city, you can make use of your apartment building as an indoor walking location.
Walk the hallway
If you’re in a larger apartment building, use the hallway as an indoor walking track. There probably won’t be many people out and about during the day, but do make sure that you’re staying safe and following health guidelines. Walking an empty hallway can be boring, so try listening to a podcast or even watching a show on your phone (if your mobile data allows for streaming or you can download it). You can walk longer and pick up a higher pace than you would in your apartment.
Stair walking burns up to double the calories of regular walking. It’s tougher to do and higher impact on your body, but if you have a limited time available to walk and your in-home cardio is getting boring then stairs can be a great change of pace. Start slow and work your way up to long periods of stair walking, and do remember that walking down stairs can be just as high impact as walking up stairs.
Use your house as a walking track
Even if your house isn’t huge, work out a walking path where you can walk relatively obstruction-free and use it to walk laps. If you’re in a multi-level house, this can involve stair walking as well. You’ll get better results if you can pop on a podcast and get fully into walking, so make sure to clear out a route with nothing to trip over or slip on. Make sure to let family members know you’ll be walking and have someone keep an eye on small kids. You don’t want someone to inadvertently leave something on the ground that you’ll trip over, and they’ll appreciate knowing how long you expect to be walking.
Look into a (cheap) home gym
If you have the space and the means, you can build a simple yet versatile home gym with a few basic products. A mat and basic gear like resistance bands or light dumbbells will let you do strength and flexibility training. Home treadmills often run up to $300 or more, but you can find other devices on a much cheaper budget. Mini steppers or mini ellipticals can take the place of a treadmill and get you steps indoors. Some are even designed to fit under a desk while you’re working. Rowing machines and exercise bikes are other options. While these aren’t necessarily cheap, the average gym cost in the US is around $50-60 a month. If you can’t or don’t want to go to a gym, you can use that budget at home instead.
Look for the path less traveled
If you’re in a more rural or suburban area it’s easier to walk outside on the street without running into people. That being said, some routes are busier than others. Take some time to work out which routes are usually free of people. You may need to drive a bit to get the right path, but the benefit will be that you can walk faster and burn more calories faster than you could by walking in your home.
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