I have a secret I want to share with you: One of the best exercises that you can do for your body, mind, and soul is walking. Yes, walking!
People give so many excuses for not exercising: they can't afford it, they're intimidated to go the gym, they're not coordinated, they don't have daycare for their kids, etc. But when the solution is as simple as walking, there are truly no more excuses!
Walking is soooo good for you, plus it's free! All you need is a good pair of walking shoes. You don't need to go to a fancy gym or learn to use any new equipment. There are no complicated dance routines to memorize. And for the people who say they don't have time to exercise because of the kids, I say take them with you! Everyone will benefit from the physical activity - even the family dog! I walk with my boys almost every day, and it's one of our favorite times to talk.
Think walking won't give you a great workout? Think again. Numerous studies show the health benefits of walking - both physical and mental. And yes, you can lose weight walking! If you are out of shape, you can start with short strolls (to the end of your street and back) and gradually work your way up to longer walks.
Besides losing weight, walking has also been shown to do the following:
- Reduce your risk of heart disease
- Improve your cholesterol levels
- Strengthen your muscles and bones
- Lower your risk of Alzheimer's disease
- Help keep your mind sharp as you age
Walking gets you outside in the fresh air where your body will absorb vitamin D. (If it's cold, just bundle up. Remember: No excuses!) Some people enjoying listening to music (try fun music with a good beat) while others prefer to use the time to meditate and clear their head.
Two more benefits of walking are improved emotional outlook and a better mood. Who wouldn't want that? Think of the last time you went for a walk - didn't you come back feeling energized, alert, and happy? If you have trouble sleeping, walking can also help you sleep better.
Walking is also a great way to meet people in your neighborhood and community. Experiment with different ways of walking to find what you like best. Maybe it is going to the track at your local high school, discovering a cool path through the woods with your dog, or even finding a walking tape that helps motivate and guide you.
Most experts agree that walking 30 minutes a day is ideal. If you don't have a 30-minute block of time to devote to walking, you can break it up into three 10-minute walking sessions. You'll reap the same benefits!