12 Benefits of Walking
With all the hype over HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), does it seem like walking is not worthy of being called “a workout?” Not so! Walking has a full spectrum of benefits, as do other forms of steady-state cardio. Walking workouts can range from comfortable to challenging to everything in between.
Don’t have time for a 30-minute daily walk? How about 20 minutes? Be honest here; you have time for this. Next time you are Facebook or Instagram, time it. Yep, we all waste time on social media. We know; we do it too! Let’s not even get started on TV, texting, Snapchat, Twitter….
Fab benefits of a daily walk:
1. You will burn calories
Depending on the speed of the walk and how much you weigh, you will burn somewhere between 100 to 150 calories (larger peeps burn more calories than smaller peeps, and effort counts: the harder/faster the walk the more calories burned: hills are harder than flats, and a faster gait is harder than slow).
To put that in perspective, if nothing else changed, that extra calorie burn in your day would result in the loss of at least 10 pounds over the course of a year.
2. Your brain will relax
Walking calms the brain and with consistency sends awesome endorphin hormones through your body that make you feel great. Whether you are walking on a busy street, by the ocean, or through a beautiful country scene, this physiological adaptation is yours.
3. Your legs and hips will look slimmer
Walking tones not only the front and back of your legs (quads, hamstrings, calves) but also the inner and outer thigh. The stabilizers around your hips will strengthen, benefitting your glutes. Because walking is an endurance based activity, if you want more than toning, add some walking lunges or squats to further enhance strengthening benefits.
4. Your abs will look better
Not only will your legs strengthen, your core will too! Did you know that your obliques (the muscle next to the rectus abdominus on the side) are activity engaged in walking? Try pulling your abs in (this uses your transverse abdominus the muscle that makes your abs look flat) and as you walk adjust your posture. Focus on the activity in the obliques as your body rotates through your gait.
5. You could have a reduction in your varicose veins
Walking improves circulation and can reduce the appearance and pain of varicose veins, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
6. You will have faster gastric emptying and better glucose metabolism
The upside being that your body will be better at warding off diabetes and other related digestive illness like colon cancer.
7. Your brain gets creative
Stuck and cannot come up with any ideas? Is it hard to focus at work? When you walk, your brain moves into the creative realm. Not only does the increased blood flow help, but also the stimulation of exercise allows better communication between the hemispheres of the brain. Bring something to take notes with…you just may want to jot down your ideas! Enlist your co-workers and take your lunch project meetings on the road in your sneaks and let the ideas flow!
8. You can save on gas
Knock out chores and errands on foot. Take your phone for catching up with friends. Next time you need to drive a mile to go to the pharmacy, don your kicks and walk instead. Time-wise, you will need about 10-20 minutes more, but by walking you exercised and ran an errand at the same time. Win Win!
9. Your body will slim down
Extra movement during the day is a major factor in losing weight and maintaining weight loss. Move more, weigh less! Invest in a backpack or rolling cart for those errands that involve carrying groceries etc. Your return on investment is less spent on gas, more calories burned, and a slimmer body!
10. Your relationships can strengthen
Walking with a friend or spouse not only tightens your bond, the commitment to meet provides motivation to stay consistent. We think twice about bailing when someone is waiting for you.
11. You will need less willpower
Once habits are established, they become automatic responses; the willpower necessary to establish the habit decreases; you go on autopilot and just do it. To get there, ease the transition from willpower to habit by enlisting a friend (with the commitment that no lame excuses will keep you from your meeting). It will take a couple of months to establish the habit; keep each other accountable.
12. Habits become YOU.
As you make walking part of your routine, the benefits compound; longer walks will start to sound fun. Not only that, but as you see the benefits, it might inspire you to try new things such as strength based classes like Definitions or Barre Fusion. Success breeds success. A 30-minute walk is do-able for just about everyone, and once that habit is established and some results have been felt in your body, you will be inspired to do even more!
So get out there and have some fun! Walking is a great first step (pun intended!). Then get your selfie, tag, and snapchat! xo (: