Get in step with fitness

Walking_0416It should come as no surprise that walking is good for you. Today, April 1, is Walk to Work Day. It’s also April Fool’s Day, but there’s no fooling when it comes to the physical and mental benefits of walking!

“I think I’ll go for a walkabout, and find out what it’s all about – and
that ain’t hard. Just me and my own two feet.”
— The Red Hot Chili Peppers (band)

Our bodies were not made to sit hunched over a desk for hours. Statistics show negative effects on our circulation, respiration, and posture from sitting. It affects us mentally, too, by increasing fatigue, reducing focus, adding stress and lowering productivity.

Luckily, walking is a simple, easy, and fun way to stay healthy and lose weight. And, it can be done at any age. Just last night, instead of going home right after volleyball practice, my 9-year-old daughter asked if we could do laps around the gym so she could get in more “steps” on her FitBit® activity tracker.

Walk as a family. Walk with your dog. Find a walking partner who will keep you accountable. Sign up for a charity walk in your town. With every step, your heart will get stronger, you’ll lower blood pressure, and you’ll strengthen your bones. Walking also eases stress, helps you sleep better, and can boost your mood.

Get up and move

When you’re at work, take a short break every hour to stretch, grab a drink, or take a 15-minute walk. If the weather is nice, take it outside. If you’re on a conference call, walk around the office while you chat.

In a study involving over 3,000 people between the ages of 50 and 79, researchers found that the least active people were five times more likely to die during the study period than the most active people, and three times more likely than those in the middle range for activity.

“You do not have to sweat it out to experience the reduced likelihood of mortality,” said lead author of the study, Ezra Fishman, from University of Pennsylvania in the United States. “Activity doesn’t have to be especially rigorous to be beneficial. That’s the public health message,” Fishman noted. The findings were published in the journal, Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.

Walking versus running.

Walking puts your arms and legs through the same range of motion as running, but without the impact on your bones and joints. When you’re running, both feet come off the ground, and when you land, the impact can be up to two to three times your body weight. Walking reduces that impact on your bones and joints.

Turn your walk into a workout.

  • Speed walking at a steady pace will boost your cardiovascular system, will improve your endurance, and will burn substantial energy depending on how long you walk.
  • Chi walk to emphasize balance, alignment and posture. Think of your body as a column. As you walk, you’ll use your abdominal muscles, relax your arm and leg muscles, and keep your leading leg bent at the knee so you land on your midfoot, just ahead of your heel. As you gain balance, your chi energy will flow throughout your body.
  • Meditate while walking. This involves concentrating on the process of walking, which can sharpen your overall focus and awareness. Choose a specific path with a start and finish for at least 20 minutes. Begin by standing still and taking deep, calming. As you begin your walk, be mindful of each step and be aware of your breathing.
  • Water walk for added resistance. Your muscles are engaged more from pushing and pulling through water. Walking in water also puts less stress on your joints and burns more calories.

So what are you waiting for? Walking is free. It’s good for beginners. You can walk outdoors and at home; no equipment needed. Just put one foot in front of the other. There’s even a nationwide program called Walk with a Doc. Their mission is to encourage healthy physical activity in people of all ages. Check it out here, http://walkwithadoc.org/who-we-are/, and find a doctor in your area.

Do you use walking as a form of exercise? If so, how do you make your walking routines unique, and how do you motivate yourself?

Join Genesis PURE’s Fit Club! It’s a place to go, anytime, for inspiration and information. And it’s where you can share your wins, your challenges, and get fitness ideas and support from others on the same journey. Visit https://www.facebook.com/Fit-Club-by-Genesis-PURE-971166056273353/?fref=ts.

 

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