With all of the craze over high-impact exercises like Crossfit and running, we tend to forget that walking is a perfectly acceptable form of moderately intense physical activity. In fact, walking hosts a slew of benefits for those that opt to do lower impact exercises. Just thirty minutes per day of walking can help:
Lower blood sugar levels
Lower blood pressure
Reduce risk of heart disease
Reduce risk of osteoporosis, multiple types of cancer, and Type II Diabetes
Not only is walking a great form of exercise, it's also a form of "green" transportation. If the weather is nice, try walking to work or the grocery store. After dinner walk your dog or head out with the family. Walking is easy to incorporate into your life! Need additional motivation to start walking? Studies have shown that those who spend more time walking outdoors have lower levels of depression.
Perhaps you're on the other end of the physical activity conundrum and simply don't meet your weekly CDC recommended 150 minutes of moderate activity. If that's the case, here's what you need to know to get started with a walking regimen.
Get Up Once An Hour
Your cushy desk job could actually be shortening your life. Those who sit for extended periods of time can suffer arterial damage. You can prevent and/or reverse said damage by walking for five minutes every hour. It's easy to do. Just take a lap our two around the office. While you're at it, stop by the water cooler and fill up a glass!
It's All About The Gear
If you plan on walking frequently, go to a running or athletic store to get fitted for walking shoes. The right shoes will help prevent blisters, plantar fasciitis, and a myriad of other torturous injuries. If you're in the Wichita area, we recommend GoRun or First Gear. Don't limit your gear to shoes. Also consider technical clothing, hats, reflective apparel, etc.
Take A Buddy
Walking can quickly become boring if you're all alone. Try taking a friend, whether two- or four-legged. They'll be happy to tag a long, and you'll enjoy the company!
If you're going to be walking alone, at night, or on a new path, consider carrying pepper spray or a safety whistle with you. Using the buddy system is preferable, but sometimes it's just not a possibility. Whether or not you have a walking buddy, always make safety a priority.
This Isn't Swimming
You don't have to wait an hour after eating to go on a walk. While you might prefer to let your stomach settle, consider walking fairly soon post-dinner. A post meal walk can help stabilize blood sugar levels.
Switch It Up
Repeating the same route every single day can leave you in the doldrums— a place you don't want to find yourself! Walk your usual route in reverse, head to a different park, or find an easy trail at a local arboretum. Switching up your route is an easy way to keep walking interesting.
Now that you've got a few tips to begin a walking regimen, check out this 7-week plan from Runnersworld. Happy trails!