As a trainer, people generally assume I have lengthy gym workouts and strength sessions, when in actuality, the majority of my movement comes from walking.
Walking provides such benefits for not only the physical body, but the mind and spirit as well.
Walking gives us an opportunity to let our thoughts simply be, and I know I find some of my most creative ideas when walking. I will often pull out my phone and create a voice message so as to not forget these ideas once I get back inside! It allows us to step away from the computer, the task, the challenge, the argument...and allows us to process.
When walking outside, we are in nature (yes, even here in NYC). Nature's benefits to us are many.
University of Minnesota's research states:
"Being in nature, or even viewing scenes of nature, reduces anger, fear, and stress and increases pleasant feelings. Exposure to nature not only makes you feel better emotionally, it contributes to your physical wellbeing, reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress hormones." (link here.)
Physically, walking is an excellent low impact workout. Oh how I feel the need to correct anyone who states, 'I ONLY walked today.' You walked today! That is wonderful! Keep that up! We do not need our workouts to be the most intense exercise we can come up with. But we do need to find ways to move our bodies every single day. Walking is a wonderful way to achieve this.
When looking to increase the intensity and the calorie burn when walking, some ways to do this include:
-Varying your speed
-Changing your incline
-Adding in some stairs
Speeding up your walk for one minute at a challenging pace, then slowing down for 30 seconds is an excellent way to increase the calorie burn of a walk. Additionally, by changing your incline, your body has to work harder to maintain the same speed, so the effort and therefore calorie burn increases as well. Try adding walking up hills or finding stairs along your route (safely!).
Walking also makes for a fantastic friend date! Chat it up and get moving. The physical and mental benefits again combing. Your friend will thank you, too ;)
So go ahead, get outside for a few minutes. If it's pouring, walk around the house. Move!