Walking. It’s something pretty simple, yet easily overlooked. Walking allows us to clean our homes, check the mail and keep our dogs happy. We do it every day for thousands of steps, but let’s take some time to look at it a bit more closely.
Why does walking matter? Well, other than using it for transportation and simply living our lives, walking is a great indicator of our overall health and our ability to maintain an independent lifestyle. Think of it this way, how much does a 6 month old walk? What about a 95 year old? While these are extremes, you can see the correlation. Those who are able to walk are able to go grocery shopping, vacuum the house, and join their colleagues for a golf game. Our ability to walk reflects our cardiovascular health, our endurance, and our balance and coordination.
Now, these factors may seem like the woes and worries of people much, much older than you, however, by living a physically active lifestyle NOW, we can ensure that our future self also has independence and good health. The benefits of walking abound for all ages and fitness levels, from improved circulation (hello cardiovascular health!), boosts to your mood, increased range of motion and improved posture. I even prescribe walking for marathon and triathlon athletes to round out their programs because it is a great low-impact workout (meaning it is easy on the joints).
So how can you improve your walking ability? First, I recommend adding walking throughout your day in small increments. This could mean taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking farther away at the mall or breaking up your computer time with a trip to the water cooler. For more ideas on adding activities like walking to your day, check out my post Movement Throughout the Day .
Next, let’s dedicate some time to walking. If you’re just starting out, we first want to increase the amount of TIME you can walk, or your endurance. This means starting out with 10-15 minutes and adding on 5-10 minutes each session. Once you are able to walk for 30-60 minutes, your next progression is to up the INTENSITY. Start with a one minute burst of faster paced walking followed by two minutes recovery of regular paced walking. Over time, add more repetitions.
Like with all forms of exercise it is important to listen to your body’s cues. Push yourself to do your best, but recognize that progress takes time and that to avoid injury we want to progress steadily and within our ability. Having appropriate shoes is a big help too!
A few tips to help you get the most out of walking:
Get a friend to join you! Time flies when you have someone to exercise with, and you can keep each other accountable.
Explore new places! Changing the scenery will keep you interested and allows your body to adapt to new terrain.
Track your progress. Use a step counter, timer or heart rate monitor to see how far/long/intense you can go!
Recognize the importance of walking. Take the time to appreciate how walking allows you to do things you love and how good mobility will affect your future self.
I would love to hear about the importance of walking in your life!
Simply leave a comment or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not sure where to start?
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