Jim and I were walking along the trails at Bluff Point State Park in Groton, CT when I mentioned my idea for this post. He replied, “I didn’t know that walking needed defending.”
A lot of my friends walk as their primary exercise. This post isn’t for them. It’s for those of you who are exercise snobs or, like me, fall in and out of love with walking. As anyone who gives me 5 secs will learn, I’m proud of working out with Insanity (billed as the “hardest workout ever put on DVD”) and p90x, among other programs. I’ve occasionally been known to challenge teenage boys to push-up contests. I used to be a runner, not a jogger.
However, I think walking was my secret weapon in the battle of the bulge (aka my muffin top) last year. I lost about 20 pounds when I watched what I ate, completed DVD workouts six days a week, AND walked for about an hour 3 to 4 times a week.
Why Add Walking to Your Routine?
According to an MNN story (“5 Ways Walking Is Better than Running“), walking may be just as effective as running in relieving stress, high cholesterol, and diabetes. You can also do it practically anywhere without much equipment. A decent pair of shoes and you’re ready to go.
It’s low impact. That was really important for me. I wanted to burn extra calories, but knew my body could not withstand much more pounding than I was already giving it. If you want to create a fitness regiment with walking at the core, check out this workout plan in Fitness magazine.
It’s social… or not. I really like walking with friends and family (two- and four-legged). I like the companionship and talking about things we never seem to have time to discuss. At the same time, I love the “inside-my-head” time that solo walking provides. I write leads to articles, craft grocery lists, muse about things at work or home, or just enjoy being outside.
You can see things. I love early morning walks because I notice things that I don’t see during the hustle and bustle of the day. In our neighborhood the turkeys sometimes gather in the park or walk down the sidewalk in more-or-less single file.
You can go places. Let’s not forget that walking is how humans got around for centuries. You may choose to walk with a sense of purpose to the store. You can opt for a hiking excursion. (WalkCT.org, for example, lists trails by difficulty, policies, and amenities.)
Don’t Just Walk
While walking might help you de-stress, keep your weight in check, get you outside, and take you places, you’ll need to add a few things to your routine to support your overall health. Strength training and core conditioning are important. So is exerting yourself enough for your heart to reap the benefits of cardiovascular exercise. And of course, watching what you eat. Food is your body’s fuel. But that’s another blog topic.