Let’s talk walking for fitness, folks.
You wake up in the morning. You pull the curtains, you look outside and lo and behold it’s a nice spring weather out there.
You know you have been failing in your responsibilities as far as keeping fit is concerned. Deep down in your mind, you have been feeling guilty that you’ve not been doing enough in the fitness department.
You see your neighbours and people you don’t know doing otherwise in the fitness department. You keep telling yourself: I will start some sort of exercise regime…next week.
Next week comes and goes, a month goes. A year even rolls by. You are yet to start your much anticipated exercise program. Yawwwnnn!
Now you have just looked out the window and the weather is, shall we say, Glorious.
What’s your excuse now?
After all, you aren’t going to work today. So what’s stopping you, Mr/Ms Lazy?
You couldn’t wish for a better sky on a spring day like I have in the picture below, could you?
Time to get up and start your fitness regime.
Walking is one of the laziest fitness regimes that absolutely anyone with a modicum of motivation can do.
The word ‘exercise’ conjures up all sorts of images in people’s minds. It doesn’t have to be hard, folks. Just move, will you?
Walking for fitness is one of the most basic forms of exercise you can do and it’s free. All you need is a pair of functioning legs and basic gear to look the part. Walking gear that is fit for purpose that is. Even then you don’t have to spend a great deal of cash to get a desirable walking gear to walk.
Although it needs to be pointed out that basic walking is just slightly different from walking for fitness as an exercise regime. Walking for fitness by definition refers to aerobic exercise that is triggered by brisk, vigorous and rhythmic walking movements designed to improve cardiovascular health along with other health benefits as well.
Walking Now a Superfood?
Well walking has had an elevation to new heights, guys. Walking is now being called a Superfood. In fact, walking has been described as the “Superfood of fitness” by Katy Bowman.
Katy is a biomechanist by training. Katy loves to write about those simple life issues we take for granted like Walking, Sitting, Body Alignment.
In her latest Book: Move Your DNA: Restore Your Health Through Natural Movement available here at Amazon.com. Her emphasis in the book is about ‘Exercising less and moving more of our different body parts’. If you live in Europe, you can grab a copy of the book here on Amazon.co.uk.
She wants us to move more. Katy Bowman who earned her Masters degree in Kinesiology from the California State University puts the science behind movement into context. She substantiates the axiom of “Use it or Lose it” very well in the book.
For instance, Katy talks about
“The mechanical forces created when a killer whale swims in the ocean at variable depths, speeds and direction load the fin tissues in ways that stimulate the fin to stiffen and stay upright. Whales in captivity don’t get these natural mechanical loads and the top fin flops. Every modern convenience from heat, to cars, to your fluffy mattress, protects the body from the mechanical loads necessary for health. Our bodies are the whale’s floppy fin”
This she describes as The Floppy Fin Syndrome
If you want to read a piece of how to challenge your body in what is relatively a simple exercise of body movement beyond walking, then you may want to pick up a copy at Amazon.
Another fitness expert, Leslie Sansone told the Daily Mail about how underrated walking can be.
“Too many people believe that spending gruelling hours at the gym is the only way to fitness. ‘There’s this ‘Biggest Loser’ idea out there that if you’re not throwing up and crying you’re not getting fit,’
she said, referring to the popular television weight-loss show.
She added that a small study of non-obese men published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise by scientists at Indiana University suggests that three five-minute walks done throughout three hours of prolonged sitting reverses the harmful effects of prolonged sitting on arteries in the legs.
One of the authors of that study, Saurabh Thosar, had this to say:
“There is plenty of epidemiological evidence linking sitting time to various chronic diseases and linking breaking sitting time to beneficial cardiovascular effects, but there is very little experimental evidence. We have shown that prolonged sitting impairs endothelial function, which is an early marker of cardiovascular disease, and that breaking sitting time prevents the decline in that function.”
Three miles (5 kilometers) per hour is a good beginning, gradually working to four miles per hour, Leslie Sansone said about walking.
Anyway here is Leslie trotting her stuff…Enjoy!
Some walking for fitness tips for you?
Getting yourself fit with walking is very simple really. The main reason being it is a natural thing that you do anyway. The only difference is you are now going to ramp it up a gear by making it a conditioning exercise.
One easy way to start walking is to incorporate walking into the things you normally do.
For instance, if you take the train or the bus to work, why not stop a station or two early and walk the rest of the distance to your work place. Depending on how far it is, you will discover that you may just acquire 3000 steps to your daily routine just by going to work.
At the shopping mall or your local supermarket, don’t park so close to the building. Walk the entire length of the car park. That’s probably another 500 steps.
How about where you get your hair done over the weekend? How far is it from your residence – 1 mile, 2miles? 2 miles or more is even better. If the journey down there is not hazardous on foot, why not walk the distance. That could clock you up some 9000 plus steps return journey.
Your sister/brother lives nearby? Great. Walk down there instead of driving there, when you are intending to stop by to say, Hello. Probably some 6000 steps there too.
What about that little trip to the post office? Could you walk it?
You see it all adds up.
The guidelines for walking for fitness recommend we walk about 10,000 steps a day. Looks kinda hard at first glance but 10,000 steps a day is nothing when you get into it and when you start enjoying your walking for fitness routine, you want to do more.
Seriously, it becomes addictive and you want to walk more and more. You even wonder why you have not been doing it all these years.
Some more walking for fitness tips
When you want to take things to the next level on your walking for fitness routine, the following would help:
Get yourself a walking buddy
Life can be lonely sometimes and it is very easy to slip into our old ways of doing things. You miss one or two days when you were supposed to walk and you slip back into your old ways.
You will begin to find excuses to not go walking and before you know it, you are missing a whole week of walking, then two. It all grinds to halt (no pun intended) eventually.
A walking buddy will make sure that doesn’t happen. You will encourage each other to keep the walking for fitness routine going even when you don’t quite feel like it.
Even though walking is simple enough exercise, you still need a little dose of encouragement to keep it going in the medium to long term.
Form a walking for fitness group
This stems from the last point. If you really want to go beyond helping yourself, then putting together a walking group consisting of either your friends or other members of the community will go a long way to achieve that.
The benefit for you is that committing yourself to doing something with friends means you are more likely to commit to it in the long term. For a start it will be rude not to.
This will take some sort of organisation as you are bringing people together. You will need to contact people who are keen on the subject matter. This is the recruitment phase.
Who are your targets for the walking group?
Well your friends, work colleagues, neighbours, are initial targets for your walking group.
If you want to extend this further, then you may wish to post fliers locally in places where the locals visit regularly – post office, churches, mosques, synagogues, retirement center, library, health club. You will need to have a small database of their contact details (email addresses, cell phone numbers etc) for easy reach.
You may need to meet formally to trash out some of the following:
Guidelines for the walking for fitness group – How, when, where and how often the walks will take place, and other issues like, will you walk when it is raining or not.
Goals for the walking for fitness group – how long to walk for, when can we increase the distance and by how much, when to add more challenging terrains and what type of terrain to add to the portfolio.
Motivation for the walking for fitness group – nice idea to keep the walking group motivated by inviting speakers to talk about healthy eating and general talk about fitness. Your local health department, nearest university or even your local family doctor can be a great resource for this aspect.
As part of the motivational angle to keep your walking group continuing to eternity, track members weight periodically and applaud members who have lost weight as a result of your walking exercise efforts. This will not only encourage the achievers to do more but will also motivate others to keep up with the healthy habit.
Get virtual walking aids
The beauty of technology is that we are treated to advances every now and again. I have a colleague who says he reads books on his walks and someone asked ‘how can you read a book while you walk?’ Valid question.
His response: “I have a kindle book reader. I just read it whilst walking. My walking route is a dedicated walking pathway, so no vehicular traffic, only humans walking”
Okay not everyone is lucky enough to have a walking pathway in their neighbourhood. So in the absence of such facility you have other virtual walking aids – Music on your phone or MP3 device or an audio book. If you can’t read the book, now you can listen to the book, thanks to technology.
Talk about multi-tasking, this is it.
By the way you can access a portfolio of music specifically designed for power walking on your phone or MP3 device right here. The series is called the Walk It Off Power Walk and it is a scientific approach to walking for fitness. Fun to use as well as a bonus.
The advantage of using music as a walking aid is that music disguises the effort involved in walking and it also obscures the time factor. You know the adage “time runs when you are having fun”. Listening to music whilst walking makes the whole exercise look like fun rather than a workout.
Go Treat Yourself Yourself Here to a nice walking buddy.
Walking lately? Share your experiences below.
Suggested further reading:
How to Avoid Complicated Diet Rules and Prevent Rebound Weight GAIN