In the 1960s, The Beatles harmoniously insisted, “All you need is love.” But if you’re looking to lose weight and get in shape, love will only get you so far. You’re also going to need a good deal of walking. With pedometer in hand, read on to learn why walking may be the best exercise of choice if you don’t have the time or desire to do anything else.
It Can Be Done Anywhere
Where does your life take you? To foreign lands? The soccer field? A hotel in the middle of nowhere? Down the street? No matter where you find yourself, whether you’re on the road, at the gym, in your neighborhood, or on the top floor at work, you can squeeze in a little exercise by taking a walk. All it takes is a pair of tennis shoes (which some walkers consider optional) and a window of opportunity. These windows can come in the form of a work break, exploration of a new city or town, or a visit to your neighbors down the street.
It Doesn’t Take Much Time
Another great thing about walking is how much time it takes. So how much time does it take to take a walk? As much as you have. Whether you’ve got 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or more, walking during that time will improve your health, step by step. The trick is recognizing windows of opportunity. This can be done by paying attention to those times when you find yourself wasting time or needing a break from your regular activities. For instance, instead of talking about your vacation with coworkers as you sit at your desk, take a few minutes to walk around the block and share your stories. The fresh air, camaraderie, and walking will do your body and mind good!
It’s Better than the Alternative
For some people, walking is the only exercise they’re going to get. Without exercise, the alternative to walking is doing absolutely nothing. Fortunately, maintaining a walking routine is relatively easy, and exercise of any form is better than no exercise at all. In fact, walking is much better than nothing, as it reduces your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and lowers your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and a number of other dangerous conditions.
It Works the Whole Body
No, you’re not going to get cut abs or ripped triceps by walking. But you are going to improve your cardiovascular health, lung function, endurance, mood, and self-confidence. In the event you’d like to boost your body’s overall tone, you can do it while walking. It just takes a little extra work. To work out more than your arms, carry small weights and perform arm curls or flex your abdominals during your daily walk.
The Second Simple Step
Once you’ve got walking down, you may be anxious to take the next step toward good health. As simple and silly as it may seem, the best next step is to up the ante on walking. Instead of taking a slow and steady walk around the neighborhood, pick up your pace.
At first, speed walking may feel strange, but it will feel naturally over time. Gradually, build your way up to a jog and eventually a run. But before you speed up too much, make sure you’re ready for the change in pace. Check with your physician or a personal trainer to ensure your body is ready for the shock of being pushed a little harder. By the time you begin running for exercise, you’ll probably still look for another challenge. The best way to push yourself physically with a run is to increase the distance you’re running and the speed at which you run.
Published in FitPro Newsletter.