Over the past few months, I have covered multiple exercise regimens like bodyweight, crossfit, or yoga as I tried to decide what exercises I would do once I was cleared after my surgery. I reviewed what I had covered…
Walking had been omitted! I can’t believe that I left out one exercise that I have often incorporated into whatever regimen I was doing in the past!
I’m going to rectify that now…
Walking for Exercise
You don’t need a lot of fancy equipment to start an exercise regimen, particularly if you’re new at it. One of the best ways to get started is simply to walk. For that, all you need is a pair of comfortable shoes or sneakers. Let’s take a look at what makes it the perfect way to get started, how to stay motivated to walk, and how to make sure your walking workouts are effective. By the time you’re done reading, you’ll be ready to head outside for a walk.
Walking is a simple workout that almost anyone can do. It’s low impact, and you don’t need a lot of fancy equipment or special training. It can be as easy or as challenging as you want.
If you’re not in very good shape, just take a stroll around the block each night after dinner to start. After a few weeks, you’ll be up to longer walks, picking up the pace, or tackling a small hill.
Walking gets you moving, and it’s a great way to get in some cardio without a lot of stress on your body. At the same time, you’ll start to notice that your leg muscles will start to tone up, and your core will get stronger. It’s not unusual to find that your pants are looser after a few weeks of regular walks.
Everyday Motivation to Walk
While walking is easy to do, it can also get a bit boring. If you’re struggling to stay motivated to go on that daily walk, here are some tips for you…
- Find a walking buddy. It’s much harder to skip that walk if you know someone is waiting for you and relying on you to go with them. Having someone to talk to on your walks also keeps things interesting.
- Grab your phone or mp3 player and some headphones. Listen to your favorite music while you walk, download some podcasts, or lose yourself in an audiobook. Having something to listen to will make the time go by faster and keep your walks interesting and fun.
- Schedule your walks and make them part of your daily routine. It will take a little while before it becomes a habit, but before you know it, you won’t forget to go for your walk, just like you won’t forget to brush your teeth.
In the beginning, your main goal will be to just go out there and move around. That’s great and the perfect way to start out. Start small and do what you can for the first week or two. If you can walk for 15 minutes, great. If you don’t, that’s OK too. Take it slow and work your way up to 15 minutes of brisk walking.
However, you will get to a point where that quick 15-minute evening stroll isn’t enough to get you the results you want. Then it’s time to push a little harder and make sure you get stronger with each walking workout.
Start keeping track of how long and how far you walk and set specific goals Once your current routine feels comfortable, you’ll know it’s time to raise the bar. You can start by increasing your walking time by 15 minutes until you get to 45 to 60-minute walks each day. Keep pushing yourself and you’ll continue to get in very effective, low impact workouts.
Pick Up the Pace
Eventually you’ll get comfortable with your hour-long walking workouts. Then, it’s time to push a little by picking up the pace. Try doing your regular walking route in less time. Keep pushing until you can comfortably do your 60-minute walk in 45. You’ll start walking faster and get your heart rate up more.
Of course, walking further in the same amount of time is another option. Aim for a 60-minute walk but go further than you used to. Either way, the goal is to push your body a little harder to get it into better and better shape.
Intensity: Fix Posture and Add Weights
Walking can be a good cardio workout. This is particularly true once you start to pick up the pace and push yourself. But it can also be a great way to tone your body.
Start by paying attention to your posture. Keep your shoulders back and stay upright. Suck in your stomach while you walk. Not only is it a good core workout, it will also help prevent back pain from prolonged walking. As an added benefit, it will shrink your belly even faster than walking by itself.
To tone your arms and upper body, consider carrying some light weights during your walks. Two small water bottles work great. Use them to do simple arm raises or curls, or just carry them around to tone your arms and shoulders.
Let’s wrap this up by talking about interval training. It’s a great way to burn a lot of calories and push yourself to the next level. Interval training means you alternate between working out at a moderate level for a few minutes followed by 30 seconds or so of high intensity workouts.
Start by walking at a moderate pace for 5 minutes to warm up. Then alternate 2 to 5 minutes of walking at that pace with 30 seconds to a minute of walking as fast as you can. Keep cycling through, changing the speed of your walk until you are almost back home. Slow it down a bit more to give your body a chance to cool down.
After a while, you may want to start running during the high intensity intervals. In addition to giving you a more intense walking workout, this is also a great way to transition from walking to running… if you plan to start running.
You don’t have to run. You would just need to implement steps like the ones mentioned above to maintain and increase the intensity of your walks.
I haven’t walked regularly since I first became ill. For my cardio part of my new workout scenario, I think I will include walking again.
I still have a couple of weeks to decide…
Have a wonderful weekend!
Loving Life—The Reboot!