Walking is one of the easiest and best ways to boost your health and happiness. Here’s what you need to know about walking, how to get started, and how to make it more fun and challenging.
Walking is one of the most natural and universal activities out there. People have been doing it for centuries, and it’s also great for our health.
It can help us lose weight, keep our blood pressure in check, reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, improve our mood, boost our creativity, and so much more!
But how much exercise do we need to get the most out of it? How can we make walking more enjoyable and engaging? And what are the biggest obstacles we face when it comes to walking?
In this post, we’ll break down all of these questions and give you some tips on creating and sticking with a walking plan that works for you and your lifestyle.
The Benefits of Walking
Walking for Weight Loss
If you’re looking for a way to burn calories and lose weight, walking is a great option.
The Mayo Clinic says that a person weighing 160 pounds can burn around 100 calories a mile if they walk at a moderate speed.
So, if you’re walking for 30 minutes every day for five days in a row, you could burn around a thousand calories a week! Over time, that could add up to some severe weight loss!
Walking helps tone your muscles, too. It’s great for your legs and glutes, but it’s also great for your core. And the best part about walking is that it’s low-impact, so you don’t have to worry about hurting your joints.
Walking for Heart Health
Walking is a great way to keep your heart healthy. It helps lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides, which can lead to heart disease and strokes.
It also helps build up your heart muscle. It helps improve circulation, which means more oxygen and nutrients get to your organs and cells.
The American Heart Association says that walking for 150 minutes a day at a moderate pace can reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease by 30%.
Walking for Brain Health
Walking isn’t just good for your body – it’s excellent for your brain, too! Not only does it make you feel better physically, but it also helps boost your mood.
When you walk, you release endorphins, hormones that make you feel good and reduce stress. It helps your brain work better. It increases blood flow to the brain, which can help with memory, focus, creativity, problem-solving, and more.
It can help protect your brain from the effects of ageing and degeneration. Studies show that older adults who walk more than 2 miles daily are less likely to develop dementia than those who walk less than 1.5 miles daily.
How to Start a Walking Routine?
Set SMART Goals
One of the first things you’ll need to do if you’re starting a walking program is create SMART goals.
“Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound”
What does that mean in layperson’s terms? For instance, instead of saying, “I’d like to walk more”, say, “I would like to walk 30 minutes a day for the next four weeks”.
That’s a measurable and measurable goal, and that’s something you’ll want to be able to track and measure. It’s also a great way to stay motivated and focus on your progress.
Choose the Right Gear
Next, you’ll need to select the appropriate footwear. The most crucial piece of gear is a good pair of comfortable and supportive shoes.
You’ll want to find shoes that fit your foot type and gait. You may want to go to a speciality store or talk to your podiatrist to find the right shoes.
You’ll also want to wear breathable and flexible clothing so you can move freely and keep your body temperature in check.
Depending on the time of day and the weather, you may need to wear sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, gloves, a jacket, or a reflective vest.
Find Your Ideal Time and Place
The next step to start a walking routine is to find your ideal time and place to walk. The best time to walk is whenever it suits you and your schedule.
Some people prefer to walk in the morning to energize themselves for the day ahead. Others like to walk in the evening to unwind after a long day. The key is finding a convenient and consistent time for you.
The best place to walk is wherever you enjoy and feel safe. You can walk in your neighbourhood, park, trail, mall, or treadmill. You can also vary your routes and scenery to keep things interesting.
How to Make Walking More Enjoyable and Challenging?
Listen to Music or Podcasts
If you want to make walking more fun and challenging, try listening to music or podcasts. It’s a great way to set your pace and get into the flow of your walk; plus, it can lift your mood and motivate you.
You can make your playlist or use apps like Spotify and Pandora to find songs that match your pace and taste. Podcasts are also a great way to keep you entertained while walking.
You can listen to news, comedy, educational, or fiction podcasts and choose from a wide range of topics and genres. Stitcher and Apple Podcasts are great places to find podcasts that fit your interests and tastes.
Walk with a Friend or a Group
Walking with a friend or group is another way to make walking more enjoyable and challenging. Walking with someone else can make time faster and more fun.
You can also share your goals and achievements and support and encourage each other. Walking with a group can also add a social and competitive element.
You can join a local walking club or group or use apps like Meetup or Strava to find people who share your passion and level of walking.
Add Intervals or Hills
If you want to make your walking more fun and challenging, try adding intervals or hills. An interval is a short period of high-intensity walking followed by a more extended period of low-intensity walking.
For instance, you could walk fast for 1 minute, then slow down for 2 minutes, and so on. Intervals help you burn calories, build up your cardio, and keep you from getting bored.
Hills are also a great way to make walking more intense and challenging. Walking uphill is harder on your muscles than walking down. It’s especially tough on your calves, hamstrings, and glutes.
Going downhill can also be challenging, throwing your balance off and making it hard to stay on your feet. You can look for hills near you or use your treadmill’s incline feature.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many steps do I need to walk each day?
It depends on how old you are, how healthy you are, and how fit you are. But a good rule of thumb is to aim for 10,000 steps daily, about 5 miles or 8 kilometres.
How do I keep track of my steps and how far I’ve gone?
You can use many tools and apps to track your steps and how far you’ve gone. You can use things like a pedometer, a fitness tracker, a smartwatch, a phone, or even online maps.
How can I prevent blisters and injuries from walking?
If you’re walking, you want to ensure you don’t get blisters or injuries. The best way to avoid this is to wear shoes that fit correctly and have good support. Also, make sure you wear socks that don’t have any holes or seams. Warm up before you start walking and then cool down after. Stretching your muscles and drinking plenty of water are also great ways to avoid blisters.
How can I increase my walking speed?
You can increase your walking speed by improving your posture, stride length, frequency, arm swing, and breathing technique. You can also do speed drills such as sprints, skips, hops, or lunges.
What can I do to make walking with my kids more fun?
The best way to make walking with your kids more fun is to make it a game, challenge or adventure. Reward your kids with stickers, prizes or treats. Invite friends, pets or toys to join in the fun.
Walking is one of the best ways to improve your health and well-being. It can help you lose weight, lower your blood pressure, reduce your risk of chronic diseases, boost your mood, enhance your creativity, and more.
To start, you must set SMART goals, choose the right gear, and find your ideal time and place to walk. To make it more enjoyable and challenging, you can listen to music or podcasts, walk with a friend or a group, or add intervals or hills to your walk.
It is simple, easy, and fun. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your shoes and start walking today!