Walk Your Way to Healthy
Friday, July 22, 2016
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu
Walking is the most basic human movement, and its benefits make it one of the most worthwhile. Being active and healthy over the course of a lifetime can be as simple as putting one foot in front of the other.
Consider the following benefits as reasons to incorporate walking into your physical fitness routine for a happier and healthier you.
Any activity is good activity: For those new to exercise, walking is convenient, effective, and 100% free. No need to buy fancy equipment or expensive weights. Instead, incorporate five minute walking breaks into your day. When all you need is your own two feet, getting up for a walk is an easy way to stay active throughout your work day.
Enjoy the outdoors: Do treadmills make you feel like a hamster on a wheel? With beautiful summer weather approaching, walking outside is the perfect remedy for spring fever. Change up your scenery by taking your walk outside. Spending time outdoors also exposes you to sunshine, which provides immune system support and mood-boosting Vitamin D. No matter your pace, walking is nature’s pick-me-up.
Make walking work for you: The simplicity of walking makes it available to people of all abilities. For those with joint or bone conditions, water walking is an excellent low impact activity. If you are looking to improve your fitness, find a hill and increase your pace as you walk up. In both cases, walking is a low-impact option to improve cardiovascular conditioning and lower body muscle function. Your heart, lungs, and leg function are critical to long-term health, and walking benefits all three.
Appreciating the benefits of walking is a significant factor towards taking your first meaningful steps. Now you are ready to make the most of your walking experience.
Learn to unplug: When you set out on your walk, consider leaving the constant stream of technology behind you. As you lace up your walking shoes, appreciate the time you are spending not glued to a screen. Creating time to be free of technology can be the mental refresh you need.
Plug in to learn: Despite the significant benefit of being “unplugged,” going for a walk may also be the perfect time to use technology to your advantage. Podcasts and downloadable media are available in a wide range of topics, including learning a new language, tips for do-it-yourself projects, and self-help. The simplicity of walking can make this type of multi-tasking a great combination.
Track your progress: Print a blank calendar to keep track of your walks for the next 30 days. Take brief notes of the miles you walk, your time spent outside, and general routes. For more specific tracking, check out fitness apps such as “Map My Walk” or “MyFitnessPal.” By the end of the month, you will be amazed at how far you have traveled.
Being active, improving your health and fitness, and enjoying time outside really can be as simple as going for a walk.
Nick Rozek Greater Green Bay YMCA
Workplace Wellness Coordinator & Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist