In a health conscious age, where we are simultaneously bombarded with images of celebrities that look carved from stone, and images of mouthwatering melting cheese, sizzling burgers, and cascading chocolate, it is easy to feel stuck in the middle. For beginners, older adults, and people who have restrictive conditions, the goal is often to just be a little healthier. Not to become a Greek God, or give up carbs, or sweets, but to bring more balance to their lifestyle. So where do we start? Hot yoga, snow yoga, Pilates, weight training, swimming, cycling, dance classes, home video routines, etc. How about a nice brisk stroll? After all, walking is free, tangible, unintimidating, and we have all been experts at it for quite some time. As you will read in this article, it has numerous benefits, and is a powerful tool for overall health. Some times to begin our health journey, we just have to put one foot in front of the other.
Walking can help you lose weight
Fast-walking combined with healthy eating habits can help you lose up to 10 lbs in 3 weeks. All you need to do is move at a challenging pace. Find your “power walk” pace, which is the pace that you can safely walk without transitioning into a jog, and keep that pace for two minute intervals, with a 1 minute slow walking rest period in between. Complete these intervals over a 30-minute walk 3 times a week.
Walking can lower stress levels
Walking, like all exercise, boosts endorphins, which can reduce stress hormones, making you feel better. Time in nature has been linked to stress relief, so try walking outside a few times a week. Furthermore, if you can, walk with a partner. Social interaction can reduce cortisol levels, a stress hormone, and strengthen human bonds.
Walking can keep your legs looking and working great
Vein disease, such as varicose veins can be painful and unsightly. Walking strengthens the leg muscles which help blood flow properly. It also elevates your heart rate, which keeps your heart in shape so it can pump normally. On a more superficial level, it tones and tightens your legs from your calves to your glutes, and who wouldn’t like that?
You don’t have engage in super intense workouts to integrate health into your lifestyle. Walking is a low impact, incredibly simple way to take better care of yourself. It is cost effective, and beneficial at any age. If you know you need or want to add exercise to your life, consider starting by lacing up a pair of old sneakers, grabbing a jacket, and stepping out your front door.