Walking - even just around the office - counts as exercise

Walking counts as exercise and is easy to fit in. [Photo: Getty]

With many pledging to get fit in the New Year, cramming exercise into our already packed schedules can seem stressful.

You may therefore be pleased to hear you don’t need to don workout gear or spend a fortune on gym membership to get fit.

For those looking to tone up, be healthier or feel more energised, it seems every step counts.

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“Every part of your lifestyle affects health and fitness,” David Kelly, personal trainer at Virgin Active, told Yahoo UK.

“Whether it is taking the stairs out of the train station instead of the escalator or waking up that little bit earlier to walk part of the way to work instead of getting transport all the way.”

For office workers, try and get out on your lunch break or just stroll around the building.

“When you get on a phone call, stand up and move around,” Stephen Macconville, fitness lead at Nuffield Health, told Yahoo UK.

While walking may not get your heart racing or build upper body strength, don’t underestimate its benefits.

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“It’s absolutely good exercise,” Mr Macconville said.

“It gives you fresh air, head space - it’s not all about improving your fitness.

“I count my steps when I can’t get to the gym.”

When it comes to step count - measured via a Fitbit or smartphone app - some question whether the go-to 10,000 a day holds any weight.

“It’s good to have a target,” Mr Macconville said.

“Ten thousand steps is what people go for, but anything up to that is also good.”

Mr Kelly tells clients to aim for a minimum for 6,000, with anything more being a bonus.

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While many claim to be too busy, a few lifestyle tweaks could free up some time.

“Do you spend one or two hours before bed watching TV?,” Mr Kelly said.

“Could you take 30 minutes out of that time to instead do a quick workout or go for a walk?

“It all helps and adds together to make a real difference.”

For those hoping to lose a considerable amount of weight, expect to have to hit the gym a little harder.

“Walking will contribute to how much you burn in a day, but it would take a lot more steps to reach the same number of calories [as an intense work out],” Mr Kelly said.

“While walking is good to maintain your health, it won't necessarily increase your fitness as you aren't pushing yourself out of your comfort zone.”