Walking may not be as exciting or glamorous as Crossfit, running marathons or completing an Iron Man but according to a lot of experts, it should be an essential part of any fitness regime. I absolutely love walking and I truly believe it contributes to my overall health. I go on about 2 or 3 long powerwalks outside a week. They really help me clear out my mind, sort out my thoughts and recover from past workouts, all while burning excess fat. Here are 6 reasons that will convince you to start walking!
1. When you walk, your body tends to use more fat for energy compared to when you jog or sprint. According to fitness trainer Kayla Itsines, fat requires oxygen in order to be metabolised (broken down) for energy. The lower the intensity of the exercice, the more oxygen is available to be used by the body to break down fat. When you are jogging or sprinting, less oxygen is available meaning that your body will use other energy sources, such as carbohydrates, for energy, as opposed to when you are walking. So you may burn less calories per minute while you walk versus while you run but these burnt calories will be fat calories!
2. You can walk your extra pounds off. If you are leading a sedentary lifestyle, walking is a great way to start moving more! All it requires are some comfortable shoes and clothes and of course a little bit of motivation. Unlike some other forms of exercise, walking is free and doesn’t require any special equipment or training. You can start by slow short walks and work your way to longer and faster walks. If you start walking 2-3 times a week, you will quickly notice the benefits of including physical activity into your lifestyle, even if the activity is not crazy intense.
3. Walking is great for developing your aerobic fitness level and increasing your cardiovascular endurance. Going on long walks (45-50 minutes) forces your body to use energy for a long period of time without rest. I love running but I don’t run for about 3 months a year because it gets too cold outside and I do not have a gym membership. However, I make sure to include long walks outside and when I start running again in spring, my fitness levels are just as good as they were before winter!
4. Walking gives your numerous health benefits. It reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. It helps prevent osteoporosis. It strengthens your bones and muscles. And much much more!
5. Walking outside boosts your vitamin D levels. Many Canadians are vitamin D deficient because of insufficient sunlight. If you are walking outside in daylight you are naturally boosting you levels of this essential vitamin for strong bones.
6. Walking will give you energy! It boosts circulation and increases oxygen supply to each and every cell in your body, helping you to feel more alert and alive. It wakes up stiff joints and eases muscle tension so you feel less sluggish. If you usually feel tired after lunch, try going for a walk during your lunch break with coworkers! You will definitely have more energy during the afternoon.