There are gyms, work out videos, and smart phone apps that all provide great resources for workout plans. A customized fitness program isn’t really that hard to find. Sometimes, though, you don’t need all the bells and whistles. All the fancy equipment can be nice, but other times, all you need to do to find a healthier version of yourself is to take a walk.
The benefits of walking are many. In addition to burning calories and toning your body, walking can improve your heart health, sharpen your thinking, and even increase your overall lifespan. When walking with your health in mind it’s best to consider how, when, and where you’re walking.
You’ll want to find a pace, an incline, and an overall routine that is specifically suited for you. Your doctor should be able to provide you helpful guidance to see what might be best for you and your health goals. Aside from a good pair of Nikes and a well-planned path, there are other approaches to walking that can provide even greater benefits. One method of walking is to make it a social activity. Find a friend or friends to walk together. Not only will the system of accountability help you achieve milestones and goals, the social interaction will add immeasurable benefits to your heart and soul.
Also, instead of just walking, you can try “rucking.” This is a classic military training exercise in which you walk with a weighted backpack (or rucksack). The increased weight increases the challenge of the activity and helps you burn more calories. You’ll want to start with a management weight to start (you can always use your home scale to measure); when you’re ready, you can increase the amount from there.
Deciding when to walk is up to you. You know your schedule and standard energy levels throughout the day. Also, if you’re walking outside, you’ll know the times when the heat is less intense. That said, scheduling those walking times on your calendar can help you be committed to yourself to accomplish that goal. Another way to reinforce that commitment is to register for charity runs. Held across the country and benefiting multiple organization, charity walks happen throughout the year. A few include AIDS Walks, Light the Night Walks, Relay for Life, the Heart Walk, the Purple Stride Walk, Walk MS, and Walk for Wishes. Find a cause you would like to support and the date of the local walk nearest you. It’ll be a great way to improve your health and contribute to a worthwhile cause.
Malls offered a great place to walk. Air conditioning, people-watching and window shopping were all wrapped into one. But in this period in which malls are becoming a dying breed, many are on the lookout for new walking spots. Many people look for neighborhoods that offer good walking path options. Sometimes the best “newest” place is one of the first places we ever knew: the park. Frequent walks through the park have shown to increase levels of happiness, lower blood pressure levels and improve the probability of making walking a habit. Choosing the place and path you walk has profound influence on the impact walking can have on your life (no pressure, right?).
Of course, before starting any exercise program, you’ll want to consult with your trusted physician so that whatever regime you begin best serves your body. All in all, it’s good to know that you don’t necessarily need to pay lots of money for gym memberships and trainers when your healthy life can be just a walk away.