It’s probably fair to say that, thanks to government health education campaigns, we are all much more aware of the benefits of taking regular exercise these days. However, knowing that you should do something and actually getting around to doing it are two totally different things.
Many people work long hours – often with a commute at either end. It can be hard to summon up the motivation, energy and time to hit the gym after a long day at work. Don’t forget, many of us have a family to tend to after the daily grind is complete. Hitting the gym, or pounding the pavement can seem like a distant choice behind relaxing in front of the TV with a well earned glass of wine. It’s perfectly understandable and, let’s be honest, we all do it.
However, there is a form of exercise – which is amazingly effective and beneficial to your health – which you may be able to fit into your busy schedule more easily. There’s no need to get decked out in fluorescent Spandex from head to toe, no need to go to the gym, no expensive monthly fees to pay and no need to get hot, sweaty and out of breath (unless you want to of course).
I’m talking about walking. Don’t write it off because it isn’t high energy, high impact. In fact, that’s just another of the many benefits.
Don’t let familiarity breed contempt. Walking is an exercise format which can, quite literally, change your life for the better – and you won’t need to get on a training regime more appropriate to a trainee Olympic athlete to reap the rewards, lose weight, get in shape and achieve a whole host of health benefits.
Just do a little more walking than normal on a regular and consistent basis – and you’ll be amazed at how quickly you see the results. You’ll look better and feel better before you know it. Let’s have a quick look at what walking has to offer.
Walking For Health Benefits
You may not be “going for the burn” with a walking exercise program, but the health benefits are immense. The secret is to walk on a regular and consistent basis – little and often works well. It also means that you are less likely to injure yourself, or to drop out because you find it too tiring.
Listed below are some of the proven benefits of regular walking. The list reads like a commercial for the latest wonder drug doesn’t it? Remember, these benefits are clinically proven and endorsed by medical and health professionals.
Health Benefits of Regular Walking:
- Lower blood pressure levels.
- Reduced risk of stroke and heart disease.
- Improved bone density. Helps to fight osteoporosis.
- Can help to combat depression and anxiety.
- The risk of certain forms of cancer will be reduced.
- Promotes better sleep.
- Provides you with more energy so that you feel less fatigued during the course of your normal day.
- Burns calories, helping you to lose weight and reduce body fat.
Recent studies even suggest that regular walking can help stave off Alzheimer’s disease.
I did say that it looks like an advert for one of those miracle supplements that you see advertised on late night TV didn’t I? In fact, those are just some of the key health benefits. There are others which we could justifiably add to that list. However, the above should be more than enough to make you interested in walking as a form of exercise I hope.
Other Benefits of Walking
As impressive as the earlier list of health benefits delivered by walking is, there are some other benefits that are well worth considering.
- No special equipment is required. All that you need is a comfy pair of shoes and clothing suited to the climate.
- There’s no training needed. You already know how to walk.
- You can fit it into your day whenever it suits you best.
- There’s no need to make time for a visit to the gym – and no expensive monthly fees to be paid.
- Walking is a low impact exercise technique. The risk of injury is very small – much smaller than other exercise formats.
- The “drop out rate” is much lower than other forms of exercise.
- If you haven’t exercised regularly for a while, or if you’ve had a minor injury, walking is a great way to get started again.
Note: As with any exercise routine, you should consult your doctor before embarking upon it – especially if you haven’t exercised for a while or have any underlying health problems. With that being said, walking will, for the vast majority of people, benefit their physical well being.
Be sensible. Start of slowly and build up with time. You’ll look better and feel better before you know it.
How To Walk More
Getting to your target of 10,000 steps a day is a lot easier than you might imagine. If you can make time for a pleasant walk in the park of between 45 minutes and an hour each day then that’s great.
However, if you can’t make time for a single chunk of walking activity, there are plenty of other options available to you. Here are just a few suggestions (bet you can think of some more).
- Leave the car at home and walk to work, the shops, college, the school. You’ll save money on gas and get fitter and healthier.
- If it’s not practical to leave the car at home, don’t feel guilty. Just park further away in the parking lot so that you have further to walk to get to the entrance.
- If you take the bus or the subway to work, get on a couple of stops later – or get off a couple of stops earlier and finish your journey on foot.
- Use the stairs instead of the taking the elevator from time to time.
- When you’re talking on your cellphone, walk around. A ten to fifteen minute call can get you an extra 1500 steps!
- Instead of sitting in front of your computer at lunchtime, get up and go for a short walk. Not only will you boost your step count, you’ll find that your energy levels remain a lot higher during the course of the afternoon.
Feel free to add a few suggestions of your own.