We are exposed to the latest – and best, if their proponents are to be believed – trends in fitness, whether it’s a new piece of equipment or a new type of exercise. We can mention reformer Pilates, boutique spin classes, and CrossFit classes, and you may even be involved in a few of them.
But there’s an exercise that we tend to overlook because it seems so simple, so natural, and so easy to do – walking. This shouldn’t be because as simple and natural as its movements may seem in comparison with CrossFit, for example, it provides several fitness benefits.
Why Add Walking to Your Fitness Program
The first reason that comes to mind is that walking is so easy to do! You have learned it as a child and you can do it well as an adult, not to mention that there are no complicated movements involved. You can do it whether you’re on a treadmill at 9 Round or outdoors; the former is the recommended option because you can introduce high-intensity interval training with a treadmill.
The health benefits of walking are aplenty, too, including:
- Decreases cholesterol and blood pressure that can lead to reduced risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
- Promotes improved cognitive function due to the increased amount of gray matter
- Increases longevity even when you walk for only 25 minutes a day
- Improves mood and mental alertness, thus, the adage about walking to clear your head
- Boosts creativity by opening your brain to more ideas (i.e., akin to moving meditation)
Best of all, walking is a great way to lose excess weight without placing your body under unnecessary stress. You don’t even have to own any equipment or buy fancy gear except for appropriate walking/running shoes.
How to Add Walking
But we aren’t saying that you should ditch your other cardio, strength and flexibility training workouts either. You shouldn’t because a well-rounded fitness program consisting of a wide variety of exercises is the best.
Instead, you should add walking to your existing routine, perhaps once a week. You will be introducing variety to your fitness program while also giving your body time to rest from the high-intensity exercises. Think of it as active rest.
If you aren’t on any fitness program at present, then you can start with a walking regimen. You may start with 30 minutes of brisk walking at least five days a week. You may even stagger the 30-minute daily recommended time into three 10-minute walks.