There’s a life-transforming exercise out there and nearly everyone can do it. It’s free, it requires no expensive equipment and it can be done anytime throughout the day. It’s walking!
Walking is completely individualized and still a complete workout. When you walk at the fastest pace you can manage, you are working your lungs, your heart, your muscles and your veins and arteries. When you’re feeling your heart beat faster and you’re getting a sensation in your leg muscles at least 30 minutes a day, your body is getting a beneficial workout.
Walking has very little risk of injury. It’s low impact, and if you slowly build speed and mileage, while wearing a well-fitting pair of athletic shoes that don’t rub or irritate, your body will adapt with very few problems. The biggest safety concern is motor vehicles, so stay alert and aware when you are walking near streets and through intersections.
Walking offers variety. Visit Chicago’s lakefront for a relatively flat challenge or head to Palos’ Swallow Cliffs to walk the stairs! Not only can you change the intensity of your workout by visiting different terrains, you can enjoy different surroundings each time, keeping your walks always interesting.
Walking can be done anytime. By increasing your steps throughout the day, you can still reap the benefits of walking. Always take the stairs instead of the elevator. Park in the farthest spot instead of circling for a closer spot. Walk to any errand that’s a mile or less away. Get up and walk to your coworker instead of sending an email. When the phone rings, get in the habit of standing up and pacing instead of sitting during the entire conversation. Take a 10-minute brisk walk after each meal.
• Walking 10,000 steps means you’ve walked about 5 miles.
• Walking briskly about 6 miles a week lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, reducing your risk of stroke and heart attack by 31%.
• Walking lowers your blood sugar and helps your body better use sugar, better controlling diabetes.
• Depending upon your weight, you’ll burn 150-250 calories walking 30 minutes.
• Swinging or pumping your arms can burn up to 10% more calories while you walk.
• BONUS – walking in a leafy, natural area also reduces anxiety and depression.
Transform your life. Put on a pair of athletic shoes and go take a walk!