Michael Hunter, MD on Medika Life

Skip the Sleigh Ride: My Festive Fitness Fix with a 30-Minute Walking Workout

I HAVE RECENTLY BEEN DOING 30-MINUTE INDOOR WALKING workouts. I want to share why it’s perfect, especially during the holiday season. Skip the sleigh ride: My festive fix with a 30-minute walking workout.

Walking is simple, at least for most of us. But it can do wonders for your mind and body.

I usually enjoy a quick stroll in my local park or around the hospital’s neighborhood to loosen up my joints and clear my head.

But let’s face it: when winter hits and the days get shorter, outdoor walks become a bit tricky.

That’s when I decided to find a way to keep walking indoors and stumbled upon a workout routine ideal for the holidays, including when traveling.

Walking Goal: 4,000 Steps in 30 Minutes

I set a goal for myself — 4,000 steps in just 30 minutes.

Photo by Tareq Ismail on Unsplash

Why? Recent research published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology showed this remarkable finding:

Walking around 3,867 steps can significantly lower early mortality risk.

Who would have thought, right? Forget the old myth of 10,000 steps; it’s not a one-size-fits-all anymore.

My Traditional Approach

Historically, treadmill walking has been my go-to activity to form a base for my physical activity.

I love that 30 minutes of ambulating promotes mental well-being while advancing my physical health.

“Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn — that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness — that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.” ― Jane Austen, Persuasion.

Walking Benefits

Here’s a reminder of some of the upsides to simply walking:

  • Reduced risk of heart disease and stroke. Walking is a cardiovascular physical activity; movement increases my heart rate, blood flow, and blood pressure. According to Mayo Clinic (USA) experts, regular physical activity can lower high blood pressure by 5 to 8 mm Hg.
  • Better energy. Walking helps boost my energy levels by releasing hormones such as endorphins and delivering oxygen throughout my body.
  • Improved lung fitness.
Photo by CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash
  • Better control of chronic health conditions (including high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, and joint/muscle stiffness)
  • Stronger bones and improved balance.
  • More muscle strength and endurance.
  • Reduced body fat.
  • Better mental health.
  • Lower risk of premature death. A large study combining data from 196 research projects (involving over 30 million adults) examined how different exercise levels affect early death chances. People who did at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly had a nearly one-third (31 percent) lower risk of dying early than those who didn’t. Even if someone exercised only half of that, they still had a nearly one-quarter (23 percent) lower risk of early death.

An Alternative Way (By Olivia Lawson)

I prefer a more traditional approach to walking. For me, the ideal is walking outside, among trees.

Alternatively, I use an indoor treadmill. Mine is a streaming fitness service that allows me to stream high-quality, gym-style workouts directly to my treadmill or exercise bicycle.

I recently discovered a walking routine on YouTube by Olivia Lawson. She is a certified fitness coach with 135,000 followers.

Her workout offers the promise of 5,000 steps in 34 minutes. Try it, and you will do exercises targeting calories, abs, and raising the heart rate.

If you try this indoor walking workout, please return and share your thoughts in the comment section.

I Build Physical Activity Into My Life

Can’t walk for 30 minutes at a time?

Here’s a nice alternative: Try regular small chunks (10 minutes) of walking thrice daily. You can gradually build up to longer sessions.

Of course. If you want to lose weight, you must do more than 30 minutes daily.

I build physical activity into my daily life. This practice allows me to maintain a healthy weight. Here are some of my favorites:

  • I take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • I regularly walk to local shops.
  • I use my lunchtime to take a short walk.
  • I prioritize physical activity.

Skip the Sleigh Ride: My Festive Fitness Fix with a 30-Minute Walking Workout.

An indoor walking workout is suitable for all fitness levels and much more rewarding than it might sound.

It’s a fun way to get moving, especially during the holidays, and you don’t even need to leave the house.

Treadmill, video, or other. You got this.

So, if you’re looking for a new morning routine in the New Year, give a walking workout a shot. It’s a free and fantastic way to kickstart your day.

I hope you all have a blast trying it out! Stay fit, and happy holidays!


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Michael Hunter, MD
Michael Hunter, MD
I received an undergraduate degree from Harvard, a medical degree from Yale, and trained in radiation oncology at the University of Pennsylvania. I practice radiation oncology in the Seattle area.

Michael Hunter, MD

I received an undergraduate degree from Harvard, a medical degree from Yale, and trained in radiation oncology at the University of Pennsylvania. I practice radiation oncology in the Seattle area.

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