If you're a Real Simple subscriber, you may have come across the article 'Walking Works' in the February 2014 issue.
When I saw this, I was honestly relieved. Finally, a magazine giving readers advice on a fitness routine that isn't likely to send sheer terror in the minds of the average Jack or Jill (like the words burpee, skaters or kettlebells might).
I whole heartedly believe that you should do what you enjoy and what works best for your body. And the truth is, as big as CrossFit, marathoning, Zumba, yoga, and you name it have become, they're not for everyone.
Bench break on Pre's Trail during a post work walk
Something as simple as walking works as an effective form of exercise, can be done anywhere and it doesn't require anything more than a pair of tennis shoes.
The article names a few great reasons to walk more...
- It strengthens memory
- It protects you from heart disease
- It lifts your spirits
- It lowers the rate of weight gain
- It staves off dips in energy
Also interesting to note that the whole 10,000 steps per day thing is sort of arbitrary and came from a study in 1960 that tracked walkers, which determined the average man who walked about 10,000 steps burned 300 calories.
They did say however, that steps are still a better way to monitor walking than minutes because you may stop to tie a shoe, wait for a traffic light or what not whereas steps are essentially tracking distance.
My favorite ways to incorporate walking into my routine are:
- A short morning dog walk (usually ~15 min)
- Walking to cool down for a few minutes at the end of a run
- Choosing a location to walk that has a beautiful view and sunshine
- Meeting friends or family members to walk and catch up (double win)
- Walking/hiking up a hill to regulate my heart rate
What I really enjoyed about the Real Simple article that it takes a step away from the idea that we need to pick the most challenging or hardcore workout, but instead toward something easier on the joints, yet still beneficial to the heart and has an impact on overall health.
After all, I worry that too often if someone feels defeated from the first step, they'll never get off the couch.
And if we're aiming for a healthier population, getting off the couch and onto the roads or trails is a huge step. So thank you, Real Simple for keepin' it real.
How do you incorporate walking into your fitness routine?
Also of possible interest...
Monica of Run Eat Repeat recently posted a Vlog about taking walk breaks during your runs