"Dressed Up" Walking Is Here To Shake Up Your Exercise Routine
Besides, I'd argue there are health benefits to sauntering all prim and proper—grooming behaviors can signify one's mental well-being, after all—but a "dressed up" walk actually has nothing to do with your sartorial choices. Allow the husband-wife duo to explain the advantages of accessorizing your daily stroll.
What is a dressed up walk?
First things first: If you're walking regularly, you're doing great.
"If there's a pill you could take that will reduce your all-cause mortality by 50%, you can give it to your whole family, and it's free, everyone's going to take that pill," says Kelly. It turns out, that "pill" exists—it's walking 8,000 steps a day1. "The research is very clear that when people walk just 8,000 steps1, they get the lion's share of benefits. Not 10,000 steps. Not 12,000 [steps]… 8,000 steps," Kelly adds.
And you don't have to get all those 8,000 steps in at once! In fact, the Starretts encourage short, frequent bursts of daily movement (also called "movement snacks"). "We've gotten stuck in a mentality that you have to do the one-hour block [of exercise], and that's not the case at all," says Juliet. You can totally take short walks over the course of the day and meet the 8,000-step benchmark.
Once you start walking regularly, "then you can start to dress this thing up," says Kelly. Meaning, you can add on mini exercises or habits that elevate your walk so you can break a sweat and reap even more movement benefits.
It's why some people choose to walk wearing ankle weights, as the add-on can simultaneously improve your balance. You're basically adorning your walk with a little something extra—get it?
Tips to dress up your daily walk
Need some inspiration for your next stroll? See below for the Starretts' favorite exercise accessories:
Practice breath holds.
"Those walks became very, very intense," Kelly recounts. "And this is just me walking home from an elementary school—no big deal."
Lift heavy things.
On another walk, "Juliet carried a 30-pound rock," Kelly recounts. Lifting while you walk can help you simultaneously work on your strength and muscle, which is crucial for longevity.
That said, you don't have to bring any fancy weights or kettlebells with you on your stroll. Like Juliet, take advantage of your environment; try walking with the rock until you find a heavier option along the way, working your way up to more and more weight.
Speed it up.
Your daily stroll doesn't have to be too taxing; but if you want to kick things up a notch, try speed walking in intervals. For a block or two, walk as fast as you can, then slow down once you hit a certain mark.
Brisk walking has been shown to improve cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength, and body composition2, so increasing your speed (even every few minutes) may be beneficial.
Walking itself is associated with plenty of longevity benefits, so take this as a sign to get up and get moving. However, "dressing up" your walk can complement those benefits and help you break more of a sweat. And if you do wish to look all dolled up while you clock in those steps? Go ahead and get glam.
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and more. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.