WALKING. Yup, I said it. Walking.
Now in a fight for unsexiest topics in all of fitness, I think walking slightly nudges out stretching for the #1 spot. This is especially true in today’s all or nothing fitness environment.
Bootcamp, CrossFit, P90X, HIIT, Obstacle Racing – you name, it all focuses on this balls to the walls mentality. The more intense the better. Sometimes it feels like if your not vomiting after your workout, you’re not doing it right.
Now don’t get me wrong, I love high intensity exercise. I train hard myself and I have most of my clients train at a high intensity a lot of the time.
But not everyday. And certainly not at the sacrifice of good form and increased chance of injury. There is a place and time for everything. We approach fitness from a very holistic perspective here at Saltwater Fit, and that depends specifically on who your are, what your lifestyle looks like, and what your goals are. To lump everyone in the “you must do high intensity exercise camp” is foolish. Especially someone prone to injury or who has a stressful work life. In these particular cases, I would advise a lot of lower intensity exercise like walking, stretching, yoga, breathing, dancing, etc.
And that’s what I’m talking about today. Specifically I’m talking about walking and the incredible impact it can have on your life.
This has been my morning ritual for quite some time.
Here are the top 3 reasons I love walking and why I think it’s the most underrated exercise.
1) No barrier to entry, it’s all inclusive
“I’m intimidated by walking. I’m not sure I’m doing it right. Wait, I might get hurt”. Said no one ever about walking. There’s no warm-up for walking. You don’t have to get ready or mentally prepare for anything. You simply get up and walk out the door. I think the biggest hurdle we face in getting fit is consistency. People don’t go to the gym because they are intimidated by the gym or by really fit people. People don’t know what to do and are scared of looking like an idiot. So they don’t go. We don’t have that problem with walking. Anyone can walk and it requires very little equipment. It’s a great starting point for anyone looking to get fit. It’s so simple and that’s why I love it.
2) Can reduce body fat
Now when compared to higher intensity exercise like weight lifting or interval training, walking won’t make you lean and shredded and it wont create a hot booty or sculpted shoulders, but it does have the ability to help you lose body fat. And remember, that “toned” look that most people desire is simply a lower body fat percentage combined with some muscle. Check out this study here which showed walking helped with fat loss. At the end of the day, your overall activity matters in the fat loss equation and walking will help get your activity levels up. Obviously, nutrition will be king with fat loss, but walking more often will help you lose body fat.
3) Gives you an opportunity time to reflect, think, learn, and be mindful
Walking can be one the most meditative activities out there. If you can find some good nature – a beach, forest, lake, or river – it gets even better. Don’t worry about getting to your destination quickly, focus on the process of moving your body and letting yourself feel each step. I also love to use the walking time to put on a podcast or audiobook and gain some good knowledge. We live in a age with so much quality information that is so easily accessible. Find a good book or podcast and soak it all in.
I’m curious, who out there goes for walk on a daily basis? I’d love to know why? Tell me in the comments below!
Thanks and enjoy your weekend.