Walking for Health

Do you ever have those days where you just don’t want to work out, but you know you need to do SOMETHING healthy?  The lazy days.  The days where you wake up and say “today, I’m going to be healthy!” but you just don’t feel like doing much?  I don’t know about you, but those days are a lot for me!!!  While I enjoy going to the gym, sometimes after a long day at work, I am just beat and the last thing I want to do is go to the gym.  Luckily, there’s something everyone can do that’s easy AND healthy for you!!!

WALKING!

Walking also only requires shoes and no other equipment. Walking can be social, it can be rigorous, it can be fun!  So get out there and get moving!

Walking feet
Walking feet

Did you see that one coming?  When I first began my weight loss journey beginning of 2014, I decided I was going to start running.  However, I’d never been a runner in my entire life.  In fact, at 28 years old, I don’t think I had ever even ran a mile.  I researched and found the C25K (couch to 5K) program.  “Oh!” I thought “This is going to be perfect!  There’s a nifty app, and I can totally start out slow and in 8 weeks, I’ll be able to run 3.1 miles!!”couch-to-5k-300x300

 

It’s a really great program for people who are able and who desire to run, I definitely would recommend it.  I had a lot of issues.  I knew I was out of shape, I had no idea I was THAT out of shape!  I felt like I was dying every single time I did the run.  In the beginning, you only run for 30 seconds.  That was too hard for me.  I couldn’t breathe, my knees hurt, my feet hurt.  But I persevered.  I bought good running shoes which made my life a little easier.  But still I was plagued with issues such as plantar fasciitis and chronic knee and hip pain.  Finally, after a year of attempting to run and many months of breaks so my feet could heal, I gave up.  I felt like a quitter and I was so disappointed.  Recently, I’ve gone to an orthopedic specialist and discovered that I have horrible knee problems and should never have tried to run and should never try to run again.  It’s disappointing and I actually almost enjoyed running, but at least there are alternatives!

Walking can be Social
Walking can be Social

 

Luckily, I have the most amazing boyfriend in the world who suggested that instead of running, we just go for walks.  We would go for 2-5 mile walks every night.  This would take anywhere from 30-60 minutes.  At first, neither of us was too excited about it, but we soon started noticing the scale moving and we both started feeling better.  I noticed my hips wouldn’t hurt as badly the next day if we’d walked the previous night.  And so our healthy walking career began.  My favorite part of the walks was that it gave us an hour every night to chit chat about our day and spend some time together outside of the house.

According to Mayo Clinic, walking has many health benefits including weight loss, improved mood, strengthening bones, and decreased risk of diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease.  Previously research has shown that walking 30 minutes a day has significant impact on health and weight loss, but new research has come out showing that 60 or more minutes is better.  The research has shown that if you don’t have an hour chunk of time, it’s possible to break it down into 15 minute or 30 minute segments.

Walking your dog is a perfect excuse!
Walking your dog is a perfect excuse!

 

When walking for fitness, you don’t want to go on a leisurely stroll.  You want to get your heart rate elevated.  You want to push yourself a little bit.  Start out the first 5 minutes slow to warm up and then push yourself to where your heart rate is up but you can still carry on a conversation.  Remember to walk slowly for 5-10 minutes at the end of your walk to cool down and don’t forget to stretch those muscles!!!  You definitely want to wear proper footwear as well.  This will help decrease chances of injury and increase comfort levels for those long walks.

Don’t be afraid to make it fun!  When I walk alone, I like to listen to audiobooks.  Find whatever works for you and make it happen!  It’s never too late to start and it’s never too hard to start small.  Every step you talk is a step closer to a healthier, happier you.