Posted by Joe Kincaid, May 5th, 2011
Walking is the most underrated form of exercise. It's great for your health and fitness for a variety of reasons above and beyond being a super-effective way to shed unwanted lbs. Not only that, but it is the easiest type of exercise to get started doing, appropriate for nearly everyone.
1. Not just calories... Walking DOES burn a tremendous amount of additional calories, greatly aiding any weight-loss goal, but it also strengthens your back, core, legs, lungs, and heart. Brisk walking will improve posture and flexibility, and a refreshing walk is a real morale boost on nice days.
2. Got a friend interested in improving their fitness? Bring 'em along! You'll be surprised how much faster the time passes. Even if you can't talk anyone into accompanying you, I know the dog is up for a walk. No dog? I'm sure you've got an mp3 player and some headphones, you can tough it out with that.
3. Start small. Even from the very beginning you will be able to manage a half mile or so (around 10 blocks) which will not take more than a half an hour, tops, even for those most out of shape. Increase your distance gradually over time and you will be amazed at how fast your distance begins to build up.
4. Strive to do better each time you venture out. For example, if you walked 2 miles in 60 minutes on Wednesday, cover 2.25 miles on Thursday, or leave the distance unchanged, pick up the pace a bit and go for a 55 minute time.
5. Make walking part of your lifestyle all the time: purposely park far from the store, take the stairs whenever that's an option, WALK up the escalator, don't just stand there!
Now get out there and start hoofin' it! You've been doing it since you were a toddler, the mechanics of it are no mystery. It requires no equipment or facilities, and it's guarranteed to have a positive effect on your fitness and energy levels. A no-brainer.
Start with the tips and principles I've outlined, here, accelerate your exercise intensity as you're able, and fine-tune your diet as your goals evolve, and you'll be off on the right foot on the journey to accomplish your fitness aspirations.
Joe Kincaid, Jr.
ACE, AFAA, and NASM certified