Whether you are young or old, male or female, walking is universally the easiest way to get fit. Not only is it the easiest way to get fit, it is also among the safest of workouts.
Fitness is a big part of my life but I do know how hard it can be to get started. When I first started making exercise a priority for myself I would try to do too much, too soon and it led to excessive fatigue, injury and exercise burnout.
This would cause me to give up or take a really long break to recover and the cycle would start over again. Finally, I decided that I would just walk every single day as long as the weather was decent.
I strapped my youngest two kids in the double stroller, my oldest daughter would walk and we would traverse the neighborhood hitting all the little playgrounds along the way.
Within just a couple of weeks I began to see major changes in my fitness level as well as my overall health.
Aside from being easy and safe there are also many other benefits of walking for exercise.
Science has proven that regular exercise does as much for your psyche as it does for your body. If you find yourself in a funk or feeling depressed or anxious walking can help relieve some of that.
I struggle with anxiety and depression and just going out for a walk every day makes a huge difference in how I feel and think.
Read more about it in this Psychology Today article.
Walking for exercise is one of the best and safest things you can do. Many times I am asked if walking will really make a difference in someone’s weight.
In short, yes you can lose weight by walking for exercise.
While there are many factors that go into weight loss, the area of greatest concern is calories in vs. calories out. Walking expends calories and combined with a sensible diet will make it possible to lose weight.
Reduce Bone Loss
You can prevent osteoporosis by doing weight-bearing exercises. Walking is a weight-bearing exercise because you are using your legs and feet to hold your body up and move it.
Swimming and bike riding are examples of non-weight bearing exercises. They are great for cardiovascular health though!
For more information on preventing osteoporosis check this article out from WebMD.
Better Overall Health
Regular exercise gives you a general sense of well-being as well as all the aforementioned benefits. You will feel better physically and your self-esteem will get a boost.
Have I convinced you to start walking for exercise yet?
If so here are a few tips to get you started:
Get some new shoes that have good support.
Worn out shoes are bad for your feet and joints. So do yourself a favor and invest in a decent pair of shoes.
Decent doesn’t have to mean expensive either. Many shoe stores have coupons on their websites and in their weekly flyers.
Map out your route.
If you are walking through a neighborhood it is a good idea to decide how far you want to walk and drive the route. This will tell you exactly how far you are walking as well as give you an idea of things to need to be cautious of.
Deciding how far to walk is an extremely personal thing, but my recommendation is that you only go how far you are comfortable with.
If you are very overweight and don’t do much walking this may only be to the end of your street and back. For others, a mile might be a good starting place. Start small and work your way up.
When I mentioned that walking was one of the easiest ways to exercise I wasn’t kidding. All you need is shoes, a place to walk and a little determination to get started.
Walking is an affordable and safe way to get in shape for people of all ages. Just remember to take it slow. Doing too much too soon is a sure-fire way to cause an injury.
As always, I am neither a fitness expert or health professional. You should always consult your doctor before starting a new diet or exercise program.