Walking is great exercise, that almost everyone can include as a part of their day. The science is continually demonstrating that walking is good for the body and the brain. Most recently, a study in the scientific journal, NeuroImage, reports that walking can improve cognitive function and memory.
No matter the weather, get out and walk. Consider adding some intensity to your walks to make them even more impactful. Check out the suggestions in Walk: 3 Ways to Get More Out of Your Workouts Increasing the pace, or adding resistance, through incline, will ramp up fitness, add variety, and may even accelerate weight loss. Below are a few more suggestions to change up your walking routine.
“More than 145 million adults now include walking as part of a physically active lifestyle. People walk for transportation, relaxation, exercise, or for the dog.” According the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Walking is easy to fit into your schedule, can be done anywhere, requires little equipment, and is easier on your body than running.
The CDC notes the following health benefits of regular walking:
- Weight control
- Reduced risk of cardiovascular disease
- Reduced risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
- Reduced risk for some cancers
- Stronger bones and muscles
- Improved mental health and mood
- Improved ability to do daily activities and prevent falls
- Increased chance of living longer
Get more out of your walk by trying these 4 walks:
- Move your walk to the woods, mountains, or lakeside. Studies prove that walking in nature improves cognitive ability and reduces anxiety and other mental health disorders. Go online and search for a trail nearby and plan your route. Recruit a friend or bring your four-legged one along and hit the trail in a nearby forest preserve. Your mind will be free from intense thought as you negotiate the fallen tree, balance on the log bridge, climb the rocky ledge, and jump over muddy puddles. You will engage new muscles as your body adjusts to the varied terrain. It can be worth the effort to travel out of your urban environment to get the benefits of walking the trail. Check out AllTrails in the Rolling Strong application to plan your walking adventure.
- Walk your city or one on vacation. Go online and pick the sites to explore. Chart the course and sightsee as you walk your workout. Check out GPSMYCITY, which has suggested walking routes in popular cities. Pick up the pace between sites, then slow to a stroll as you admire the architecture, outdoor sculpture, or the landscape.
- Walk the parks. Moms and dads of young kids can carve out a workout while entertaining the kids at the park. Plan on a walk that encompasses three parks and the right distance for your walk. Pack up the kids in the stroller, add a few healthy snacks and head to the first park. The kids can play while you squat, dip, lunge, and pull up. Give them fair warning that you are getting ready to hit the next park then continue on. Your kids will learn to love your walking workouts and you will enjoy park visits so much more.
- Use your feet as transportation the next time you need to grocery shop, attend your kid’s baseball game, or visit the hardware store. Walking can be a great mode of transportation, freeing you from the stress of driving and parking, fitting exercise into your busy schedule, and allowing you to arrive at your destination relaxed and happy (and possibly a little sweaty). Hitch a ride home, or double your steps and walk home. When they hear how you got there “I walked”, they will be so impressed and you will encourage others to consider walking too.
*TIP: add toe taps to strengthen the muscles in the front of your lower leg. While seated, heel on the ground, tap your toes up and down. Repeat 10 times on each leg. Work up to 3 sets of 10.
Contact a Rolling Strong Coach to explore other ways to fit exercise into your busy life!
by Christy Coughlin, Wellness Coach with Rolling Strong