Walking is a wonderful way to add movement into your fitness routine. It is accessible to just about anyone. It is easy on your joints and you do it everyday anyway. Why not walk with purpose?
Walking reduces natural painkilling endorphins to the body. The more steps you take, the better your mood.
A brisk 30 minute walk burns about 200 calories. Over time, this can lead to weight loss.
Walking improves circulation and wards off heart disease. It brings up the heart rate, lowers blood pressure and strengthens the heart. According to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, women who walk just one to two miles a day can lower their blood pressure by nearly 11 points in 24 weeks. Women who walk 30 minutes a day can reduce their risk of stroke by 20%, and by 40% when they stepped up the pace.
Walking eases joint pain. Walking helps lubricate and strengthen the muscles that support the joints. Walking may even help prevent arthritis.
Walking boosts immune function to allow your body to naturally fight off upper respiratory tract infections.
Walking increases oxygen flow through the body. By increasing levels of cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine you will feel elevated energy levels.
How to get started
Start small. Set a timer for 10 minutes and start walking. When the timer goes off, turn around and come back. Gradually increase your time so you are walking at least 30 minutes each time. You can continue going out and back, or look for a loop that is around the same distance.
Grab a walking buddy. Being accountable to someone else, helps you stay on track. If you have a set time that you will walk, you both are less likely to make an excuse and miss the walk.
Walk in good shoes. A good pair of athletic shoes can prevent injury. You want something with a supportive arch and soles with traction to fit your walking surface.
Change your route from time to time so you don’t get bored.
Live in a place with seasons that make walking outside challenging? Consider walking in the mall. Many malls have a walking program and you can just ask at their information booth about the distance around the mall. I used to mall walk all the time right after I had my babies. I could push my stroller in the climate controlled building. I was window shopping as I walked, so when I finished my “workout,” my reward was to be able to go into the stores if I so desired. Workout first, shopping second!
How can I fit this in?
Consider your schedule. You can go walking first thing in the morning before the pressures of the day sideline you. You could go walking on your lunch break, or after work. Some people find that a walk after dinner helps with digestion. Overall, choose a time that works best for you
Take this time to pray. Maybe, you do your devotional reading before you go out walking and you can pray while you walk. I have had many a conversation with God while out walking in my neighborhood.
Listen to music. There are many music streaming services available that have playlists designed just for movement. Choose your favorite genre, put in your earbuds and get going. You can even create your own playlist with songs that motivate you.
Put on a good podcast or audiobook to listen to while you walk. You can be entertained at the same time as getting more fit.
If you want to involve the kids, put them on their bikes as you walk and you will pick up the pace to keep everyone together. Of course, you will have to give them stopping points so they don’t get too far from Mom. ;-)
Walking is one of my favorite forms of exercise for all the reasons listed above. It is a lifetime activity that is underrated, in my opinion, for improving your fitness levels.
Keep in mind that I am not a doctor. Please consult your physician before beginning any new fitness routine.
Where will you go walking?
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