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New to Exercise? Here Are 7 Ways to Get Your Daily Miles In

July 25, 2022

You may have heard a lot of talk about the health problems brought on by our modern, sedentary lifestyle. Often, that is contrasted with the “hunter-gatherer” lifestyle: spending the day foraging for your own food, eating off the land. There’s little debate that this way of living, from a wellness standpoint, beats sitting at a desk eating McDonald’s for lunch, any day.

But you don’t have to be roaming the tundra to still reap some of the same benefits. Author Daniel Lieberman puts this in perspective in his book, Exercised: Why Something We Never Evolved to Do is Healthy and Rewarding. It turns out that today’s hunter-gatherers really only spend about an hour a day on the “hunt,” and the rest of their workday doing lighter activities. That means you just need to add an hour or so of brisk walking to your day, and you’re right up there with the famed hunter-gatherers.

Here are some alternate ways of thinking about your miles for the week, in case you need to mix it up a bit.

  • Walk – The world’s oldest, most enduring, and safest form of exercise.
  • Run – Not everyone can do it, but if you’re injury-free and not new to running, consider giving running a try for some or all of the 108 miles. Some of the great things about running, if it suits you, is that you get those miles in faster, and the higher heart rate can confer increased and varied physiological benefit.
  • Hike! – As we say in The Science of Living Well Beyond Cancer, uphill walking should be a part of your weekly exercise routine. You can probably feel that walking uphill works different muscles in your body but you may not be thinking about this most important muscle: your heart. Increased heart rate, different physiological changes.
  • Play ball! Did you know one covers 5 miles in the average soccer game and 3 miles in the average basketball game? Strap on your pedometer and get in the game! Tennis, basketball, golf, soccer, pickleball… the options are endless.
  • Do a pool run. Sometimes, new or chronic injuries prevent you from doing load-bearing activity like walking. Pool running allows you to get the motion of running without the stress on your joints. For maximum benefit, do it in the deep end of the pool, and use a flotation belt to ensure proper form.
  • Is it too hot to go out today? Raining? Or you just don’t feel it? Get on your pedometer and do a house deep-clean and organize.
  • Remember that famous scene from Risky Business? There’s nothing like some of your favorite music to get those feet moving. Maybe skip the giant whiskey & Coke though…