The fitness industry is a multi-billion-dollar business with so many products and services being promoted to get people healthy and in shape. But one of the best things you can do for your health doesn’t cost a thing and you can do it absolutely anywhere.
Simply going for a walk can keep your weight in check, strengthen your muscles and bones, and boost your mood. So, put one foot in front of the other and read on for a little inspiration to start walking more this season.
Benefits of Walking
Walking is a great way to get your body moving and your heart rate up in a low-impact way. When you walk, you improve blood circulation, which helps maintain a healthy heart. It can also help slow the loss of bone mass, which is important if you are genetically predisposed to osteoporosis. You’ll strengthen your muscles as you walk and also support joint health.
Brisk walks at least 30 minutes long can burn 200 or more calories, which can help you control your weight. Researchers have also studied how walking can improve your sleep, affect your mood, boost the immune system, and slow down mental decline.
How to Start Walking More
Although the idea of walking more sounds simple enough, very few of us actually make a conscious effort to do it. It may help to write down a schedule that involves substantial walks at least five days a week. Start with a slow-paced walk for five minutes to warm up, speed up for 20 minutes of walking, and then slow back down for a five-minute cool-down.
Over time, gradually increase your daily walks from 30 minutes to 60 minutes. But even just 10 minutes of walking will provide valuable health benefits compared to being sedentary all day. Try to think of your walks as a form of self-care and reward to yourself, rather than a chore. It may help to find a partner to walk with or an enjoyable destination to reach, such as a bookstore or park. Use your walks to explore new neighborhoods or get to know a familiar one better. Daily walks also provide great opportunities to catch up on audiobooks, listen to podcasts, play music that you enjoy, or chat with a friend on the phone via earbuds or hands-free headset.
Photo credit: Live Once Live Wild via Flickr
Walking Safety Tips for Winter
Even with winter weather on the way for many people, walking is still a great option for keeping up with year-around exercise. You can stay safe when you walk this winter by following these tips:
- Wear sturdy walking boots with rubber soles and non-slip tread
- Pay attention to slippery surfaces and traffic – no being distracted with texting!
- Walk on sidewalks after they have been cleared of ice and snow
- Take small steps, walk slowly, and point your toes outward on icy walkways
- Ditch the heavy backpack and wear a light fanny pack for better hands-free balance
Here are some other Seagate blog articles to read if you are looking for ways to stay active in the winter: