One of the simplest form of exercises is something we do every day whether we make it to the studio or not- walking. Walking is a gift that I believe is taken for granted too easily. When you think about it, the ability to subconsciously will our legs to place one foot in front of the other to move ourselves from one place to the next is truly a simple yet impressive gift we have been blessed with. The great thing about walking for exercise is that it’s easy to incorporate it into our daily lifestyle, and it comes with a list of physical and mental health benefits.
· Walking is low-impact which means it’s an activity where at least one foot is on the ground at all times. This helps decrease the discomfort you may feel in your joints and bones that you otherwise may feel when doing high-impact exercises like running or jumping.
· There are numerous health benefits associated with walking for exercise. Walking for 30 minutes of more per day can improve your cardiovascular system by lowering blood pressure and sugar levels. Walking also boosts metabolism, balance hormone levels and improve the immune system.
· If you need a stress-relief, take a walk. Walking increases your blood flow and your mood at the same time. A walk outside, or on the treadmill, increases your endorphins which helps reduce stress. You can choose to make walking a way to be alone and give yourself time to think or listen to podcasts, or you can make it a social activity and take a friend to spend quality time with them.
If you’re wanting to burn calories for weight loss and reap the benefits of walking, here are a few workouts:
Easy: Take a leisurely stroll around the neighborhood or on the treadmill for at least 30 minutes five days per week. Some of you may take many steps each day, so these 30 minutes may be easy to obtain since they’re incorporated into your normal daily activities. Wearing a fitness band can help you keep track of how many steps you take daily and let you know if you’re reaching your goals.
Medium: Depending on how long you are wanting to walk, break up the time between walking at a slow-pace and at a fast-pace. This will repetitively raise and lower your blood pressure and obtain those health benefits. If you are walking outside, find hills to walk up and down. If you are on the treadmill, use the incline. You can also increase the difficulty of walking by using ankle weights.
Hard: You will want to use intervals again by breaking up your walking time with more intense exercises in-between. For example, walk briskly for 5 minutes then stop and either hold a plank, do burpees or squats for 1 minute. Do this cycle over and over and feel free to add different exercises.
You can always create a workout for yourself that best suits you, but it is helpful to have a guide, so here is a link to a great site that has walking workouts: https://www.prevention.com/fitness/a20504504/14-walking-workouts-to-burn-fat-and-boost-energy/
The great thing about walking is it's ability to be so simple yet so effective. Although it may not be considered the most intense or "exciting" form of workout, walking still has many physical and mental health benefits. Overall, walking is a form of exercise that, in my humble opinion, is way underrated.