Running, HIT workouts, heavy lifting, calisthenics, mountain biking – they are all fun ways to move your body, that's for sure. But what about walking?
Walking has a ton of benefits. It has been estimated that our grand ancestors moved about 26-28 miles per day. A distance of a full marathon! Nowadays we don't even cover a fraction of this, which is pretty sad.
I have always loved to walk. It's probably because I grew up in a really small town where we actually never needed a car – almost everything was within walking distance. I guess that's why walking has never been an issue for me. Quite the opposite, going everywhere by car doesn't make sense to me – it's more expensive, it can actually take you more time and if we have a nature-friendly option, we should choose it.
Walking is something that I recommend to my clients to do as well. Not only walking – you should definitely do some strength work too, but there are times when walking is the best thing you can do for your body.
Why I think walking is good, why you should do more of it and how you can make walking even more fun
1. Consider Walking First
There is no need to drive everywhere, absolutely not. A lot of times walking can even save you time because there is no need to look for a parking space. It also comes out cheaper since you don't have to pay for parking and gas. And, as mentioned before, it's way friendlier to our environment.
2. Go Grocery Shopping
Carrying two grocery bags in your hand makes a great workout not only for your legs but also you arms and core. Because your bags don't weigh equally, you put uneven load to your body. This challenges your muscles differently than when doing those barbells squats nice and properly, with the exact same amount of load on each side of your body.
3. Walk First Thing in the Morning
I'm a total morning person and taking a nice walk (or sometimes run) is my morning ritual. There are no words to describe how calming, relaxing and enjoyable it is.
People say that they are pressed for time in the morning. I think almost everybody is. Try to get up a bit earlier before the busy day starts and enjoy the quiet time for yourself to clarify your mind, meditate and get ready for the day.
I promise, it does miracles.
4. Use Walking as Workout Recovery
Did you plan a hard HIT or strength workout or aimed to go for a 10-miler run but you are just too tired? There is no need to push it harder and do another high intensity workout if your body tells you not to do so. Go for a walk instead – that makes a great recovery. And the most important thing – don't punish yourself for not doing what you have planned.
5. Walk on Your Rest Days
Rest days are necessary, but they don't mean that you are not allowed to move at all and that you should spend the whole day inside lying on the couch. Instead, I recommend you to go out for a little walk, even if it's a little stroll in your neighborhood. A little activation never hurts your muscles, even on a rest day.
6. Walk a Ton on Your Vacation
I really love exploring the new city or wherever my vacation takes me and doing it by foot. There is so much more you can see by walking than by sitting in the car or catching the subway for transportation.
I'm sure you can always find 15-20 minutes for a workout even on a vacation, but it's even better when you can add walking to your daily routine. Besides, we tend to over eat and drink when on a vacation, so walking will give our bodies some extra activity.
7. Find Activities That Allow You to Walk
Again, on a vacation find things to do outside of tasting all the great food at local restaurants. Go for a hike and explore trails.
In cities, go check out different parts of the city – be sure you are safe though. Even shopping is a great way to get some walking in. And that's some serious steps!
8. If you are beginner in fitness, start from walking and slowly build it up from there
There are people who started with fitness only later without having any background whatsoever, but worked their way up to running marathons, losing 100 pounds or, more importantly, making moving their lifelong habit.
One of the great examples is Erin Brown, a woman who's work is truly admirable and who now helps other women to honor their body and make being active part of their lives. For her, it all started from a walk around the block.
9. Walking is the best time to listen to podcasts
This is my favorite thing to do when walking. I do love walking in silence, but more often than not I bring some audiobook or a podcast with me.
Right now I am obsessed with Lift Like a Girl Podcast and am looking forward to every Monday when the new episode is released.
10. Track Your Steps
There are so many apps out there that let you to count your steps and distance. I am using Moves app to keep my eye on my activity.
It's recommended to make at least 10 000 steps for a minimum movement every day. I must admit, since I am sitting quite a bit, I don't hit the 10,000 step goal every single day. On the days when I'm doing harder workouts, it's okay not to hit the 10,000 steps benchmark, but on rest days or the days I take it easier I try to get my 10,000 steps in.
Tracking the daily steps is a great motivator. A lot of times I check my daily steps in the evening after the dinner and find that that there is only 1,000 missing from my daily goal, I go out and literally, take the extra mile.
Walking is a great exercise that we should all be doing more of. It's healthy, enjoyable and fun. It gives you time you need to think your thoughts or listen to your favorite books or podcasts. Whenever you feel too tired to do a harder workout, replacing it with a walk is a good idea.
How much do you walk on a daily basis?
Do you track your steps?
What's the best part of walking for you?
I was in the airport on Friday, and waiting for my plane I walked up and down the halls instead of reading. It felt much healthier than staying on my chair.
So true! I try to do the same every time I have some time to kill at the airport. There’s enough sitting during the flight anyway!