How Walking Can Change Your Life
I was a runner for about five years. Did some 5k’s, half-marathons, and one accidental marathon. I thought I had signed up for the half and discovered the night before the race I was actually registered for the full marathon. It was too late to switch and I didn’t want to lose the finisher’s medal so I ran it.
In between races I ran several times a week at a park near our house. I gradually realized I enjoyed my cool-down post-run walk far more than the run itself. It was around this time I also got my first Fitbit. That little device changed my life.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends we get between 150-300 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. The benefits are pretty incredible.
- A lower risk of heart disease.
- You can lower your risk of getting some cancers including colon, breast, and lung.
- The risk of diabetes is lower.
- You strengthen your bones and muscles
- A lowered risk for depression.
- It helps you manage stress.
- You think better.
The key to these benefits is finding a physical activity that has enough intensity that you can do regularly and will ENJOY DOING! This was why I stopped running and started walking for fitness.
If you can walk about 1,000 steps in ten-minutes then you have reached the recommended intensity level. That’s not the kind of pace you’d get putting laundry away, going through the grocery store, or walking down the hallway to use the restroom at work.
But, if you set aside 30 minutes each day for an intentional walk it’s the kind of pace that you’d be able to reach and sustain. If you’ve ever struggled to make exercise a regular part of your life, walking may be a perfect activity for you.
- Walking is effective. It’s exactly the kind of moderate level physical activity recommended for better health.
- Walking is sustainable. Because it’s low impact, your chance of injury is lower. Walking is also an activity you can do for years and decades to come.
- Walking is flexible. You don’t need a gym to walk for fitness. You can do it anywhere and at any time.
- Walking is fun. This is the best part. Because walking is so flexible you can customize it in a way that’s enjoyable for you. You can walk with others or alone. You can hike through the woods or explore a city. You can walk quietly or listen to BRIGHT-FM. Find whatever is fun for you!
If you want to make walking a path to better health it’s important you start small. This is where most fitness programs go off the rails. We start way too big and lose interest when it starts feeling like too much.
Instead, start with a short five-minute walk each day. That probably won’t feel like much, but you’re creating a habit. After a month add another 5-minutes…and so on.
If you have a Fitbit start by figuring out how many steps you average each day and add 500. Reach that goal every day for a month and then increase.
Before long, your walking habit will create fitness momentum which just keeps building. Eventually you too can talk about how walking changed your life.
Dave is part of the BRIGHT-FM morning show, Tracey and Dave. He also has a blog walkingisfitness.com that’s helping people discover the life-changing impact of walking for exercise.
Link to Dave Paul’s Blog: https://walkingisfitness.com/start-here/