I've said it before, and I will say it again. Walking, in my honest opinion, is the most underrated form of working out.
To be honest, walking is inherent to who we are as humans. We all might be better served separating walking from working out in our mind all together. Not because it isn't a great workout (it is!) but because we all should be walking more regularly and instinctually opting to walk when possible instead of just reserving it for the time we have set aside as 'exercise time'.
Walking is widely available, inexpensive, and requires almost no learning curve. The most difficult part of walking is taking the time to do it.
👈🏼And if you want to bust a move in the middle of your walk, by all means please do!
Now, let's back up a step.
Notice that I didn't say 'finding' the time? The time exists, but the priority of how the time is spent may need to change. You can read all about my time-mindset here. And luckily walking is a flexible enough form of exercise that making the time is a lot easier than other forms of exercise.
👉🏼Check out my outdoor exercise essentials.👈🏼
Ready to learn why I think it's essential to make a habit of walking (almost) everyday? ...
Walking just might be the best exercise (most people) can do!
Often times people lump walking up against running. When it comes to running v. walking, yes you burn calories faster with running. There is a larger amount of muscle recruitment, and the demand on the cardiovascular system is higher. However, walking is lower impact and a much better choice for anyone who experiences knee, back, or hip pain during exercise.
But you don't have to be experiencing pain in running to get the benefits of walking. In fact I don't think you should compare the two at all!
Walking offers not only burns calories and gets the whole body moving, it also improves postures, increases circulation, reduces risk of heart disease, is shown to fight depression, elevate positive mood, and offer similar mental benefits to meditation.
And because it IS lower impact you can do it more often with less risk of injury, meaning a consistent walking practice is more possible.
Tell Your Boss, "You're Welcome!" Walking Boosts Creativity!
Meditation has long been shown to help reduce stress, which walking does as well. But this stress reduce does more than just help you feel calm. When the brain no longer is focused on processing, planning and mitigating potential threats, other aspects of the brain that may have been suppressed can flourish - such as functions that allow for imagining greater possibilities, creative problem solving, and even simply being more aware of present experiences thus taking in more data that a stressful mind may have been somewhat unaware.
In fact walking is so good at producing creativity you may want to suggest to your boss that all of your brainstorming and strategy meetings be done while in stride! Research studying the connection between walking and creativity showed that subjects in the study who were walking - both outdoors and on a treadmill - were able to create 2x the amount of creative ideas in comparison to their sitting counterparts.
Walking Improves Your Performance In the Gym
When it comes to a routine of exercise the micro assessment of calories burned or muscles built is shortsighted. The true impact of a routine is only known over a long period of time. Working a walking routine into your weekly workouts helps you recover from tough workouts faster.
One of my favorite trainer phrases when it comes to recover days is this: motion is lotion!
After a tough workout one of the worst things you can do the next day is nothing. Stagnant bodies start to get stiff, and stiff bodies are can feel painful. The full body mobility of a moderate walking stride coupled with the increased circulation is a perfect blend of full-body support. None of your muscles will be stressed out to the same degree that they might be on a run or in the weight room, but they also won't be stagnant. Soreness can more easily flush through and your muscles and joints receive the nourishing support they need to recover quicker.
Walking Can Help You Beat the Blues
To be honest I do consider myself a runner (and remember I don't think running and walking are mutually exclusive - I love them both!) and those the elusive but also intoxicating runner's high is a thing of magic. It feels amazing when it arrives.
However when it comes to incorporating exercise into your mental health support system, the low-impact sustained exercise may be where it's at! Experts explain that the reason may in the hippocampus a section of the brain that plays a major role in learning, memory and mood. When a body engages in low-impact sustained exercise, like walking, the release of specific growth factors allow for nerves to grow and change - allowing for the creation of new pathways of thinking and learning. This growth in areas of the brain that take part in learning new ways of being, processing memories, and regulating mood means better function!
It is important to note that exercise alone may not be enough to treat severe depression; always consult professionals and seek help when you need it (I am a HUGE advocate for therapy and finding mental health professionals to support your journey!)
OK, Convinced and Ready to Make a Habit of Walking?
Here are things you need to get ready (don't worry I made a handy inspiration list if you need some new gear).
Check my Amazon shopping list for some of my favorites.
yoga. fitness. lifestyle.
Hi there! You found me. My name is Julia Marie Lopez. For 20 years I have studied meditation and mindful movement as my primary tools for healing. For the past 10 years I have worked as a wellness coach, yoga teacher, personal trainer, and I am the Founder of Practice Everywhere.
Since I offer you my experience and perspective, share my writing about life, love and wellness, and offer a bit of unsolicited advice, I think you should also know that I do include affiliate links and promotions in some of blogs. If you make an action (such as sign ups, memberships, or purchases) I might earn a commission. I promise to use this income to support my love of coffee, dogs, yoga, and my family (in no particular order).💜