Many of us would like to be more physically active. When you exercise more often, you not only lose-weight, but you enhance your overall well-being. Exercise positively affects many areas of your mental and physical health. The problem is, many of us lack the time or energy to consistently get to the gym.
We work long hours, so it can be challenging to work out after your hour commute home. The good news is, you do not need fancy exercise equipment. In fact, you can simply walk yourself fit. By tweaking your current lifestyle, you can improve your health by simply walking.
Walking is a great exercise for anyone. It is inexpensive, yet beneficial for your overall health. Many view walking as cheating, but this is simply not the case. There are a million ways to be active, but walking has the lowest rate in terms of people dropping out. Stay focused, as you walk yourself fit.
When you walk 30 minutes a day (which is nothing when you think about it), you:
- Reduce your risk of developing heart disease. This prevents potential heart attacks, heart disease, or strokes.
- You can improve your overall blood pressure, which is a problematic area for many.
- You can lose weight, then maintain a healthy body weight.
- You can improve your mood, as walking can have a positive impact on your mental health.
- Reduce your risk of multiple types of cancer, including colon and breast.
- Since your risk of obesity is reduced, you lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Walking also helps build the foundation for more intense exercise, such as running. When you walk often, you build strength in your legs. You are also able to utilize the same general motion as running, but without the risks associated with your joints and bones.
If you do have issues with your joints or bones, walking allows you to be active without the risk of getting hurt. When you are running for instance, both feet are lifted off the ground at the same time. When you land back on the ground, the impact can be up to 3 times your body weight. When walking, one foot will always be on the ground, avoiding the risk that your joints will be injured.
How to Walk Yourself Fit
If you are wondering how to incorporate walking into your everyday routine, there are ways to ensure you get the most out of your walking session. The following tips will have you walking yourself towards a healthier, happier self.
- Plan Ahead and Prepare: If you do not prepare properly, you could hinder your overall walking experience. Before walking, make sure you have the proper clothing and footwear. When you are dressed and ready to go, make sure that you stretch. When you stretch before you exercise, you reduce the risk of pulling a muscle. If you pull a muscle in your leg, you will struggle to take part in any form of exercise It is all about moving forward, not backwards.
- Be Realistic: You may think about the exercise program you’d like to take part in, but ask yourself if it is realistic. If you have been inactive for quite some time, then start slow. Even if you walk ten minutes a day, you are working towards a more sustainable, beneficial program. Set goals for yourself. If you walk 4 times this week, 15 minutes per day; increase your walking time to 30 minutes the next week. Then the following week, walk for 30 minutes, 6 times a week. When you set goals that can be realistically achieved, you will continue to feel motivated.
- Take Your iPod Along: You can counteract the boredom that is often associated with walking, by bringing music along with you. There are also many songs that can help increase your motivation levels. You can make a playlist that matches your goals. Incorporate faster paced songs when it is time to pick-up the pace. Slower songs are great for stretching and your cool down.
- Document Your Progress: When you can actually see your progress, then you will be able to adjust your goals and walking routine based on what you have been achieving. Track how far you walk, how long it took you, how you felt, even what you ate that day. This can guide you towards your future goals.
- Have a Back-Up Plan: There will be days that are wet and cold, so have a back-up plan. Have an exercise DVD that you can use to get moving. You do not want to start skipping your scheduled exercise time.
You can walk yourself to a more fit version of yourself. If you are putting that much effort into your walking schedule, make sure you also focus on other aspects of your lifestyle. Are you sleeping enough? What does your diet consist of? Make sure you are incorporating a variety of whole foods and drinking plenty of water.
Also, think about opportunities that allow you to walk. If you live close to work, why not use this to your advantage? Walk to work, then walk home. You will more than likely reach your walking goals for the day, or even exceed them. When on your lunch break, get up and start moving. Even if you walk down the street, that is better than sitting at your desk. This allows you to get some air and sun, while positively impacting your health.
So, get out and start walking today. You will notice a difference in how you feel, as a walking schedule can boost your emotional and physical well-being. Call a friend, as this can increase your support system, while allowing you to interact socially.
Image source: Vye Professionals