As I was walking through the park today I was thinking about what I should feature for tonight’s heart health post. Well friends, the answer was with me all along – walking! I believe many people underestimate the health benefits of walking. I talk to so many people who think the only way to stay fit is by running or doing a high intensity workout that they forget about the importance and benefits of a daily stroll.
Walking is an aerobic activity and we know that aerobic activities improve cardiovascular endurance. Walking increases the amount of blood circulating through your body and helps deliver oxygen and other nutrients to your organs. An activity as simple as walking has been shown to help maintain healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It’s really as simple as that; you just need to start moving more.
Here are some ideas to help you walk more throughout the day:
- Talk to people in person as much as possible.
- Get up every hour and walk for 3 minutes. This will add up over time and will help with weight maintenance goals.
- If your destination is less than 5 blocks away and there is a footpath, walk, don’t drive!
Why walking might be your go-to cardio routine:
- It can be a family affair. Perhaps no one else likes to bike or run but you can all go for a walk together a few times a week or even daily when the weather is nice.
- You don’t need any fancy equipment, however I do recommend comfortable, supportive shoes.
- Walking is free!
How to make walking more intense:
- Find a neighborhood with hills. This will get your heart rate up and your legs will be burning! If you are on a treadmill, use the incline setting.
- Move your arms. Anytime you incorporate arm movement your heart rate will increase.
- Mix it up by counting strides or trying to walk a mile in less than 12 minutes or even adding walking lunges every so often. Maybe the people driving by will think you’re crazy but you’re exercising and they aren’t so you win.
While higher intensity activities are great for some people, they aren’t feasible for everyone. So the next time you forget your gym bag and think you’ve missed your workout for the day, take a walk and enjoy the scenery.