If you haven’t exercised in a while, or are looking for something easy you can do every single day give walking a try.
It’s the perfect low impact way to exercise.
It’s easy to do, you don’t need any special equipment and you can start at the fitness level you’re at.
If you’re not in the best of shape, start by going for a 10 or 15-minute walk around the neighborhood and work your way up from there.
If you’re already in great shape, walking can still provide an effective workout.
Walk fast and incorporate some hills and even stairs.
But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.
It’s Ok To Start Slow
If you’re like most of us, chances are you haven’t exercised much since you got out of college and need to start small.
Find a pair of comfortable shoes, put them on and go for a stroll through your neighborhood.
If the weather doesn’t permit walking outside you can even walk in place at home in front of your TV.
A Simple Little Idea To Get You Moving
As you’re sitting on the couch at night watching TV, get up during commercial breaks and march in place until your favorite TV show comes back on.
Speaking of having fun, going for a walk outside can be a lot of fun, too.
Mix up your route and walk in different areas of town, or visit different parks.
Invite a friend, your spouse, or make it a family thing.
**Remember, if you have any health conditions and in particular, if you’re suffering from high blood pressure and are at risk for heart disease, discuss your walking plans with your doctor. The two of you can come up with a plan that’s appropriate and safe for you.
5 Health Benefits Of Going For A Walk
There are a lot of good reasons to go for a walk. It’s fun, it’s relaxing, and most importantly it’s good for your health.
But what exactly are the health benefits of walking?
I hope this convinces you that heading out for a walk each day is a great idea and that it motivates you to stick to your walking schedule until you start to see results.
1. Walking Gets You Outside In The Fresh Air and Sunshine
No matter how fast or slow you walk, walking gets you outside and in the fresh air.
This alone will make you feel better as your body absorbs the oxygen and sunshine since both are important for your health and well-being.
You will find the air quality outside, particularly if you go for a walk on the beach or in a park, will be much better than the air inside your house.
Of course, the sunshine outside will help your body get the Vitamin D it needs.
2. Walking Can Help You Get To And Maintain A Healthy Weight
Walking particularly at a quick pace and doing it regularly can help you get to and then maintain a healthy weight.
Yes, you still need to watch what you eat and aim for a healthy diet, but walking can be another tool to help you drop those extra pounds.
The nice thing about walking when you’re overweight is that you burn a lot of calories, even on short and slow walks, simply because you’re carrying so much weight around with you.
As you start to lose weight, your overall strength and endurance increases, allowing you to walk longer, further, and faster.
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3. Walking Improves Your Sense Of Balance And Coordination
As you walk, particularly when walking over rougher terrain, you’re also working on your sense of balance and coordination.
Just getting in the habit of going for a daily walk will help.
But you can work even more on your sense of balance by moving your head around.
Turn your head to the right and left as you walk for a count of 30. Then move your head up and down for a count of 30.
If you do these simple exercises once or twice as you walk each day you’ll get even more benefit.
4. Walking Strengthens Your Bones and Muscles
Even though walking is a low impact form of exercise it helps to strengthen and tone your body.
If you’re just starting out, it is all you need to start to get into better shape.
As you get more fit, consider adding weight lifting exercises in addition to your daily walks to continue to get stronger and help develop strong muscles and bones.
5. Walking Will Boost Your Mood and Fight Depression
Last but not least, the exercise of walking releases endorphins that will help lift your mood and can even reduce depression.
Give it a try.
The next time you’re feeling tired or are in a bad mood, lace up your sneakers and go for a brisk walk.
It works like a charm.
6. Bonus: Walking Can Help You Lower Your Blood Pressure And Strengthen Your Heart
Many people at risk for stroke and heart disease are overweight, unhealthy, and have a hard time exercising.
Thankfully walking is an easy, low-impact workout that almost anyone can do.
The act of walking itself, particularly if you can go for a walkout in a pretty park is very relaxing and will lower your blood pressure soon after the walk.
Regular exercise will strengthen your heart.
Remember your heart is a muscle and going for a brisk walk works out more than your leg muscles.
As you work out your heart, it gets stronger and better at pumping blood through your body.
And as you strengthen your muscles and your body overall, you are likely losing body fat.
That’s good news for your blood pressure long term.
Use A Pedometer To Keep You On Track
OK, I know setting aside some time to go for a 45-minute walk isn’t always easy.
We all live busy lives and between family and work, fitting in a workout isn’t always possible.
What if I told you that you didn’t have to dedicate a set block of time for your walking workouts?
What if you could get the same health benefits by working in a little more activity here and there throughout your day?
And what if there was a fun little gadget that helped you keep track of it and motivated you to move more?
There is and it’s called a pedometer.
You can pick up an inexpensive model at your local superstore or order it from Amazon.
Or you can go with something a little fancier like a Fitbit for example.
But before you head out to spend any money, check your smartphone because any models have a pedometer built-in.
All you need to do is download a free app and you’re good to go.
The pedometer will track how many steps you take on any given day and track how many minutes you’ve spent being active and how many miles you’ve walked.
In other words, it keeps track of how much exercise you get during your day.
And the good news is that it doesn’t matter if you head out after work for a 45-minute walk, or if you work out in little spurts here and there throughout the day.
Maybe you start your day by parking a little further away from the office and walking a couple of hundred extra steps.
Then you take a quick stroll during your lunch break. You wrap up your day by walking around the park while your kids play.
And just like that, you’ve gotten your exercise in without having to block out any additional time.
Give it a try.
Put on a pedometer, or start tracking with that phone you’re always carrying around anyway and see how much you’re walking around any given day.
From there, try to get a little more active as time goes by until you hit your stepping goal.
For most of us 10,000 steps per day is a good long term goal, but if you’re feeling more ambitious than that, go for it.
Keeping track of your steps is very motivating.
Looking at your pedometer and realizing you’re 2,000 steps away from your daily goal may be just the motivation you need to head out for that after-dinner stroll.
Ready to get started?
A healthy diet, regular exercise, and losing weight are some of the most effective ways to boost your immune system.
Add to that the fact that walking helps you destress and it’s no wonder that walking regularly has such beneficial effects on your health.
Put on your shoes and go for that first walk and leave me a comment telling me how it felt!
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