A couple weeks ago, I was having a discussion with a buddy about trying to find some new workout routines that would be fun. “Have you tried walking?” he asked. Walking? Why would I try walking? I mean, I know as yound as I used to be, but I ride mountain bikes, lift weights, do sprints and play sports pretty regularly. Isn’t walking for old people, I thought to myself? “Uhm…no,” I replied sheepishly. “You should,” he replied. “Great low impact workout. You might enjoy it.”
So I decided to do a little research to see if walking would really be considered working out. What I found out is that walking may not be the coolest or trendiest form of exercise but turns out it may be one of the most beneficial and easiest workouts we can do. It’s like the mini-van of workouts! Paul T. Williams, Ph.D., a staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in Berkeley, California, goes so far as to call walking “a wonder drug, except that you don’t need a prescription and you don’t have to pay for it.”
Some of the reasons people either stop or never start working out are:
- Gyms are too expensive
- The don’t know where to start or what to do
- They get too sore
- It’s just not fun
Walking seems to be a simple solution to all the above. So I took my friends advice and set a walking schedule for the week (even if it was only a couple days). I was going to walk for an hour one morning and then another hour one afternoon with my wife (another benefit of walking, we can do it together!).
The first day, I grabbed my phone and headset and headed on out to a nice, 70 degree day. One thing I noticed right away was that I found myself thinking a lot more than normal workouts. I wasn’t stressed, enjoyed being outside and wasn’t sore like I would normally be if I was running. Maybe there IS something to this walking. The next walking session with my wife was even better. We talked the entire time (something that being at home tends to get in the way of with chores, TV, kids, etc) and we actually went longer than an hour. I decided this is something we needed more of and walking will now be on the workout rotation.
Knowing that 80 percent of our body composition is is determined by how we eat, walking is a great way to get in some exercise, not beat your body up, improve your health and improve your mood. So get out there and start walking! You can start slowly with just 5 or 10 minutes a day and work up to at least 30 minutes on most days of the week to get the full cardio benefits. Once you take that first step, you’re on the way to an important destination — better health.