Monday, May 5, 2014

Walking Works

I have wanted to write about this topic for oh, months now, but I'm just finally getting around to it.

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

5 comments:

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I agree that it's great that there are articles that start off with realistic exercise regimes because it seems like people who are starting from no exercise are more likely to follow something like that and then maybe push themselves. Walking is definitely part of every day. I chose to live in the downtown area of Minneapolis and Charlotte so I could walk to and from work. In Minneapolis I was also able to walk to the farmer's market, church, the grocery store, target, you name it! And I love meeting up with friends for a walk in my old neighborhood (which will be my new neighborhood again in a couple of weeks) because it's a beautiful setting and you can walk for miles.

Vanessa said...

I love walking! I sold my car a few years ago and ever since I have walked or cycled absolutely everywhere. It is thirty minutes each way to walk to work and back, and that hour of the day spent with my headphones in and my feet moving is just the best.

Leigh said...

I walk 4-6 days per week thanks to Harley! If I didn't have a dog, I doubt I would walk that often

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

Plus, when Zumba and Crossfit are names of the past, and those of us who battered our bodies with marathons are paying the price, there will still be walking. And the side effects of walking are ... {crickets}.

I walk the dog twice a day. I walk Gavin to daycare and home from daycare a few days each week. Our family walks to the park, so Gavin can play on the playground or run around the baseball field. When the weather is warm, we walk to our favorite gelato spot (gotta earn it!). I love walking dates with girlfriends, too! If we can get somewhere by walking (or walking and then catching public transportation), then we do. It's good for us AND good for the environment!

Amber said...

Very interesting! I have done a lot more walking since getting a dog, that's for sure. I don't think I would just go out for an evening walk if it wasn't to take the dog out! I also do a lot of walks/hikes with friends who aren't runners and I walk with my mom a lot. I also try to get outside and walk around on my lunch break!