Walking as Exercise

Walking as Exercise

Everyone knows that in order to live a healthier life, you should engage in regular physical activity.  The good news is that exercise doesn’t have to be complicated in the least and can be quite enjoyable.  Many people believe that in order to get in shape and drop pounds, you need to regularly participate in strenuous sweat sessions that involve cardio like running.  However, research has shown that walking at a brisk pace can burn an equivalent amount of calories as running or jogging.  Because walking is lower impact, you aren’t putting your body at the same risk of potential injury that can come with running and other high-impact activities, so you are able to reap all of the health benefits without the same amount of bodily damage.

Benefits of Walking

Benefits of Walking

Like so many other physical activities, walking can do a number of wonderful things for your body if you are consistent.  Any amount and distance is good, although the faster and farther you walk, as well as doing so frequently, the more you will benefit from it.  Walking can help you maintain a healthy weight, and can help you lose weight if you regularly walk at a brisk pace.  It can help you prevent or manage a number of conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.  Your bones and muscles will become stronger, and you may even notice that your balance and coordination improve.  Of course, one of the greatest things about walking is that it can put you in a great mood thanks to the endorphins it releases.

How Often Should You Walk?

How Often Should You Walk?

It is recommended that most healthy adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity every week.  Fortunately, exercise can be done throughout the week to equal the recommended amounts so the numbers aren’t so daunting!  It is also recommended to do strength training of the major muscle groups at least two times per week.  To make things easy, set a goal of 30 minutes of physical activity every day.  If you are not able to dedicate a 30 minute period of time to exercise, you can always break it up into shorter 10 minute sessions a few times a day.  Remember, everything adds up, so take a walk on your lunch break, park at the far end of the parking lot at the mall, or take a stroll with your partner (or dog!) after work.  

Stick With It

Stick With It

Keep yourself motivated by setting simple goals and following through with them.  Once you find yourself reaching your goals, you can set even bigger ones!  Making it a part of your routine will help it become a healthy habit you look forward to.  You may find it easier to be consistent if you enlist a walking buddy or schedule your walks just as you would an appointment.  Listening to music can be hugely motivating and can give you the push to keep going.  Variety will keep it interesting, so choose several routes you enjoy and change it up often.  If you miss a few days, don’t beat yourself up over it or let it keep you from getting back on track.  You will likely start to crave how good your body feels with regular exercise and will do it with a smile on your face!