What I like even less than exercising is exercising in a gym in the ‘comfort’ of an air-conditioned, enclosed place.
You run for miles and go nowhere.
No fresh air.
And, if you watch the News while running, no empty space to relax your mind as well as your body.
I nearly forgot to mention… it costs quite a lot of money too – especially when you stop going as regularly as you started off when you joined. By now, you probably feel too guilty to cancel your gym membership because, really, you ought to exercise!
Why Walking Is The Best Solution For Me…
Walking Is My Solution To My Lukewarm Attitude To Exercising Because…
It gets me outdoors
I’m a great believer in getting out at least once a day for a long-ish period of time. It’s good for the body and for the mind.
The fresh air cleans your lungs and lifts your spirit.
The sun helps your body create the vitamin D it needs.
It fulfills my minimum amount of exercise target
Since, as you’ve understood by now, I’m not the biggest sports and exercise fan, I was really pleased when I learned that it is considered that a good level of exercise is one that speeds up the heart for twenty minutes three times a week.
20 minutes of heart raising exercise 3 times a week sounds quite reasonable to me.
More importantly, it sounds achievable.
Even better news, there’s no point over-doing it when it comes to exercising. Over-exercising speeds up aging by increasing free-radical damage. We certainly wouldn’t want that!
I have an excellent walking buddy that takes me out everyday: my dog!
There’s no escaping taking my 1 year old labrador for a walk.
Whenever she wants to hint she needs some exercise, she looks at me with her big puppy eyes and brings a tennis ball to me.
As I put my walking boots on, she starts wagging her tail.
When I grab her lead, there’s no doubt in her mind any longer, she frantically sways from side to side, wagging her tail with renewed fervor.
On the walk itself, she rewards me with the best present: her absolute joy of being outside. She jumps around in the long grass, chases scents in the bushes, checks on me briefly then returns to her errands.
She’s the perfect walking buddy: willing (there’s no off day for her), pushy (she’s got means to convince me when I waiver about going out), passionate (she enjoys every second of it), interesting (her company is heart-warming).
Now, don’t get me wrong, I also do walk with people! It is, after all, easier to converse with 2-legged humans.
I’ve got my Friday Walk girlfriend buddy. I find that regular habits are the best things when it comes to exercising.
Some Useful Tips To Get You Walking More
Here are my tips if you don’t have a dog:
- find a willing, pushy, passionate and interesting walking buddy/friend.
Set a weekly day and time and stick to it. Motivate each other.
- join (or create!!!) a weekly walking group.
There will always be at least one person to accompany you
- if you drive, decide that you will only park your car at least 10 minutes walk away from your destination.
It might even save you a few dollars/pounds in parking fees (… and fines) if you park far enough where it’s free to do so.
- if you take the bus or subway, get up a bit earlier in the morning, exit one stop before and walk the rest.
Or do it in the evening returning from work.
- get a dog 🙂
Always a good option!
Don’t Just Walk, Make It Count
I’ve told you that I didn’t like exercising much but that doesn’t mean I don’t know it’s good for you.
Of course, it’s good for you:
- It uses fat stores that the body forms as a reserve of energy.
- It helps lose weight and tone the body.
- It is a great stress reliever. It raises endorphins levels, which gives a feeling of happiness.
- It helps tone up the cardiovascular system helping to retain strength and stamina even when getting old.
- It reduces the risk of heart attack because it lowers blood pressure.
- It boosts the immune system by increasing the count of T-cells (one type of immune cells in the body).
- It relaxes muscles and helps to sleep too
So, even though I don’t exercise much, I want to make it count.
Control the pace
When I walk, I don’t walk the way I would in a shopping centre: taking my time, stopping to check the shop windows, going at a leisurely pace.
I make sure my walking is fast enough to speed up my heart (remember that’s what the experts recommend). I also include some uphill walking to that purpose whenever I can.
Pay attention to the way you walk
I don’t walk like you and I were taught to, putting on foot in front of the other.
I think about how I walk:
- I pinch my buttocks
- I tuck in my tummy
- I move my legs from my hips (and not my knees) and land the heels first, which gives me a hip ‘swivel’ as I walk (a bit weird but efficient at burning calories)
- I think about my breathing (in, out) to make the most of the aerobic exercise (exercising with enough oxygen)
- I use my arms to help me walk and keep up the pace (it helps tone up my arms too)
Enjoy the moment
I just don’t walk as fast as I can to be done with it and get on with my day.
I walk fast enough to raise my heartbeat AND I enjoy the moment.
I look around. I listen to the sounds. I am mindful about what I do. Walking is not just good for my body, it’s excellent for my mind too. It gives my mind a break. I don’t think about what I have to do later. I am in the moment.
Often to help me be there in body and mind, I take my camera with me. It helps me focus on what’s around me and I get fantastic shots out of it.
It doesn’t mean the walk takes my all day. I do need to work too. I know how long each circuit is (I like to vary my walks every day and I have many different circuits). Within the time allocated to each circuit, I take the time to just be.
Walking is the best exercise
Walking is one of the best forms of exercise and the top winner for me because:
- it is simple: anybody can walk
- it’s free
- you can do it anywhere
- walking does not cause stress injuries the way jogging does because it’s a low impact form of exercise (unless you walk for days on end (!) but that’s not quite my style…)
- keeping a brisk walking pace at moderate to high intensity – can burn the same amount of calories as jogging or running. So why run when you can just walk?
- walking offers all of the exercising benefits I quoted above and more (walking would help to drain the lower legs of excess fluid and help prevent varicose veins through the pumping action of the calf muscles, it would be a beneficial form of tissue-cleansing and the best most natural gentlest way to exercise your feet).
Why don’t you give walking a go?
If you don’t like exercising, try walking.
Be careful, if you do not currently exercise at all, do NOT start with speed walking. Consult your doctor if you have any concerns. Do wear appropriate footwear. Start at a gentle pace and for a short time only. Do not push yourself to the point of breathlessness. Slowly increase your speed and the length of time you walk.
Be persistent and you should see results quickly.
If you try it out, do let me know how it goes!