Walking is one of the best forms of exercise, but often cast aside for its more jarring counterparts such as jogging or running. Walking uses your whole body, requires zero equipment or special gear, can take place just about anywhere, there’s zero ‘learning curve,’ and while walking is easy on your joints, it still involves impact which is great for your bones. So, why aren’t you walking?
Many people falsely assume because walking is low impact and easy to do, that it can’t possibly be as beneficial. But, the truth is the benefits of a walking rival that of just about any other form of exercise.
- lower blood pressure,
- reduced risk of stroke,
- decreased risk of heart attack,
- lower cholesterol,
- increase in bone density, and
- increased sense of well-being
Walking can be a great weight management tool, as well as an effective method for increasing your fitness level. But, because it’s less physically demanding than many other activities, you will need a few strategies at your disposal to get the results you desire.
- Change up your pace and your duration – there’s a close relationship between how quickly and how far you’re walking. If you’re going slower, you’ll need to go farther. And, if you’re walking faster, you can cut down on the distance. To keep your body guessing, mix it up!
- Find a hill (or two!) – incline is a great way to increase your intensity without having to walk faster OR longer. Not to mention, hills will recruit your lower body a bit differently than flat terrain which will enhance the full-body effects.
- Gain a little weight (not really!) – adding extra weight to your walking workout is another easy way to sneak in a bit of a challenge. While you may have seen folks sporting hand or ankle weights while walking in your neighborhood, weighted vests are a much safer way to burn a few extra calories. The vest evenly distributes weight naturally and will not alter the way you walk which can lead to injury.
- Get creative – spice up your walking routine by throwing in extra exercises along the way. See a park bench on your route? Drop and do a set of push-ups or triceps dips. Find a set of stairs? Take a few trips up and down before moving on. Playground Why not jump on the swing, hang from a bar, or any of the other fun activities that present themselves.