A better question is “Can I get into shape WITHOUT walking”. Whilst the answer is yes, walking offers too much to be ignored.
Walking is one of the best ways to get your heart rate up, burn calories, and build strength and endurance. It’s been proven to help with depression, anxiety, stress relief, self-esteem, and staying social.
Yes, it can be challenging to keep up with a regular walking schedule, especially if you find it difficult to leave your home or your office for long periods of time.
That's why I'm sharing these tips to get started on the right track toward a healthier lifestyle and a slimmer body, with the power of walking!
1. Why walking is a foundational movement
Walking is an essential Activity of Daily Living (ADL). Being able to comfortably get around and not be out of breath is foundational to living a full and complete life.
It's also a cardiovascular exercise that improves your heart health and strengthens your muscles. As a result, you burn more calories and build more muscle while also reducing your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
2. Start with adding walking to your daily routine
Walking is an easy way to get in shape, but it requires commitment. To get started find where you can some walking into your schedule. Try walking anywhere from 5-10 minutes at a time. You don’t have to push yourself, but doing a little is far better than not doing anything at all.
Consider walking to work (or some of the way), during lunchtime, or in a local park. Find somewhere to walk each day that’s close enough that you can easily get in your walk in. Once you find a route and routine that works for you, make it a priority.
3. Wear the right shoes and clothes
When you start walking, be sure to wear the right shoes. Shoes that are too tight or too big can lead to pain and injury, so make sure you get the right fit. You can also wear socks that are made for walking to help absorb any foot shock and to provide cushioning for your feet.
You should also wear clothes that you feel comfortable in and don’t restrict your movement. This will make it easier for you to enjoy your walking and increase how much you walk over time.
4. Walk outside when possible
If you have the opportunity, walking outside (even if the weather is bad) is a great way to connect to nature whilst you're being active. Walking barefoot on grass or sand is a great way to reduce your stress.
Be aware that walking on concrete tends to be harder on your joints, so make sure to walk on grass whenever possible. Make sure to wear appropriate shoes when walking outside so that you don’t slip, and don't forget a bottle of water if it's a hot day.
If you don’t have the opportunity to walk outside, you can use a treadmill or do laps around your home.
5. It’s more than just walking
Listen to music or podcasts while you walk for an extra boost of motivation, or use walking as social time.
When you walk to music or a podcast, your body is automatically engaged in the activity. This helps to increase your heart rate and blood flow, which leads to increased calorie burning. In addition, walking to music has been shown to improve your mood and stress levels. This is because it engages your brain in the activity, leading to improved cognitive function.
Walking with a buddy will also help you stay motivated, as they provide much needed accountability.
6. Reward yourself
Don't forget to reward yourself after going for a walk. You might want to reward yourself for meeting your walking goals or for walking for a certain amount of time.
You can try something new, go out for a meal, listen to music, or do something that relaxes you. Whatever you choose, make sure that your reward stays in line with your goals so that you don’t lose sight of why you’re walking in the first place.
Walking is a great way to get in shape and improve your health, but it's more than just walking. It's important to find a walking routine that works for you and make it a part of your life. With patience and persistence, walking can help you stay healthy and move more efficiently.