Walk it off


Are you avoiding starting exercise because you are overwhelmed with all the different types of training, figuring our which is best, will burn fat fastest, make sure you don’t bulk up, or boost your metabolism the most?

This is what is called “analysis paralysis”- where you are overwhelmed with so much information and so many different methods that you can’t decide which is the best way forward, and so you don’t do anything at all.

The best way to get around this? Just start! You don’t need the latest workout gear. Just comfortable clothes and shoes. Don’t overthink things. Forget about how long you “should” be exercising for. Do what feels right for your body today. You can work on improving on this in the future.

Just go for a walk.

For five minutes, ten minutes, half an hour. And to give you a little extra incentive, here are the top six reasons why walking is a great form of exercise.

Walking increases aerobic fitness

You don’t have to run marathons to improve your fitness. Start with a gentle walk, work up to a brisk walk, and eventually you can do power walking sprints, where you walk quickly for 30 seconds to a minute, and then drop back the pace for the same amount of time, and repeat.

Stronger bones

Did you know that your bones get stronger when they experience stress, in the form of impact and bearing weight? Just the action of getting up and onto your feet puts pressure on your bones, then the impact of taking steps (more if you are walking more briskly), is enough to strengthen bones, and stronger bones means less risk of fracture or osteoporosis later in life.

Reduces body fat

Exercise helps build muscle mass, and higher muscle mass results in increases in metabolic rate. A higher metabolism plus burning up energy while exercising can help reduce body fat when following a healthy calorie controlled diet.

Improved balance

More so with outdoor walking than using a treadmill, walking forces your core (postural) muscles to work to keep you upright, and changes in terrain, going uphill or downhill, stepping up over curbs, balancing on slightly unstable surfaces such as sand, all these factors strengthen muscles and improve reflexes. This reduces risk of falls and improves overall muscle tone.

Reduces risk of lifestyle diseases

Diabetes, heart disease, stroke, impaired glucose tolerance, high cholesterol, high blood pressure. The risk of developing these can be greatly reduced by regular walking, and if you are already working to manage any of these diseases then walking can help improve or in some cases even reverse these diseases.

Improved joint pain

Joints are less stable and therefore more prone to injury, or exacerbation of current pain when the muscles surrounding them are weak. Strengthening muscles around joints means they are better supported. The action of walking helps compress and decompress the cartilage in joints, which is how nutrients used for healing and regeneration are absorbed.

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