If you’re like me, exercise can sometimes seem like an impossible chore. Even though the idea of getting into shape sounds appealing, the execution is where we stumble the most. With such busy lives, it’s difficult to find the time and the energy to incorporate physical activity into our daily routines.
However, if you think that exercise has to be spending an hour or two at the gym, you’re mistaken. For me, walking is something that I can do much more easily, and I don’t dread it as much as a regular “workout.” I like walking because I can fit it in wherever and whenever I can. Instead of driving to the corner store, I can walk. Instead of taking the elevator, I can take the stairs.
If you’re interested in getting some physical activity into your routine, then you should try to start walking. Today I’ll be talking about the benefits of walking as exercise, so hopefully, you will feel inspired to begin as soon as possible. Even just a few minutes a day can be helpful, and once you start your journey to a healthier you, you’ll find that it’s a lot easier to stay on target.
So, with that in mind, let’s put on our walking shoes and hit the streets!
Benefits of Walking as Exercise
Has this ever happened to you? When you’re laying in bed or feeling full after a meal, you think to yourself “I gotta start exercising more.” The idea feels great, and you’re sure that you’ll start the next day. However, when the time comes to do it, you feel exhausted before you even put on your workout clothes?
This happened to me all the time. Whenever I would think about working out, I would dread it. Plus, with all of the stress of everyday life on my mind, it would make the idea feel even worse.
However, once I forced myself to get out there and start walking, I felt better almost instantly.
The fact is that physical activity can change your mood. Your brain releases a cocktail of different chemicals to help you feel good, especially if you push yourself to your limits. We’ve all heard of the “runner’s high,” but the fact is that a brisk 20-minute walk can have some tangible benefits on your mindset as well.
Now, walking is a highlight of my day. I feel great after I’m finished, like I’ve accomplished something and I’m ready for the next challenge. On top of that, I feel better about myself, knowing that I’m on the path to a healthier me.
No matter what kind of stress or anxiety you have in your life, walking can help. While I’m not saying that you’ll be cured of depression or anything, it’s a perfect little pick-me-up that can get your mind back on track when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Try it and see how you feel afterward. I guarantee it will be better than the dread you experience beforehand.
If you want to shed pounds, the first thing that you have to do is change your diet. However, even if you don’t do that, walking can help you get leaner. As long as you keep a brisk pace and get your heart pumping, walking as exercise can lead to a slimmer waistline.
In many cases, we live such sedentary lifestyles that any prolonged physical activity can be hugely beneficial. If it’s been months since you’ve gotten your heart rate up, then a quick 20-minute walk can do wonders for you.
If you really want to lose weight, though, then you have to stick with it and push yourself more over time. When you first start out, a casual walk through the neighborhood can be good enough. However, as your body adapts to the exercise, it’s imperative that you raise the stakes. Seek out hills and walk a little faster to get that heart pumping.
As long as you sustain a concerted effort, you can see some significant drops on the scale. Just be sure that you’re not overcompensating by eating more after your walk, as that will negate any calorie losses you experience.
Diabetes is a significant problem in this country. Many people have such poor diet and exercise habits that they can’t help but develop the disease. What’s even worse is that you don’t have to be massively overweight to get diabetes. Plenty of thin people get it because they eat too much fat and sugar and don’t get enough exercise.
Fortunately, walking can help prevent the disease, or improve your symptoms if you already have it. If you do have diabetes, you still need to follow your treatment and monitor your blood sugar – walking is not a cure-all. Nonetheless, one of the best ways to minimize the effects of diabetes is to get more physical activity. In fact, compared to dietary changes, you can do more for your body with walking and other exercises than you can by cutting out carbs and sugar.
Although weight loss is a desirable outcome of working out, the fact is that it can be a slow process. However, you shouldn’t get discouraged because you’re not shedding as many pounds as you’d like.
When you walk, you’re improving your body’s systems in a myriad of ways. One of the most important is that you’re forcing more blood to move through your circulatory system, which helps strengthen and improve your muscles.
Your legs will get the bulk of the benefits as they get stronger from being used more often. Also, your heart will have to work harder, which will keep it in peak physical condition. In fact, no matter where your heart is right now, it can always return to its top form as long as you treat it right.
When you think about how walking can change your body, you probably don’t realize that it can help your digestive system work more regularly. How does it work, you ask? Well, when we walk, we utilize our core abdominal muscles. Even if your abs aren’t sore after your workout, that doesn’t mean that you weren’t using them.
As we stimulate these muscles, they help move things along our gastrointestinal tract. If you haven’t been “regular” due to poor diet or lack of exercise, you will notice a significant chance once you start walking on a consistent basis.
In fact, when people have abdominal surgery, one of their recovery methods is walking. The activity ensures that their muscles get back into shape and don’t weaken from the operation.
As you can see, walking is a lot more than just a means of getting from point A to point B. It’s a simple and effective method of improving your mental and physical health. Once you start walking, you will notice these changes happening, and that will encourage you to continue your path to a better you. I know that it did for me.