Sometimes the simple things in life are also the most beneficial. People may spend tons of money buying expensive in-home exercise machines, gym memberships, personal trainers, and fancy diet plans, when in reality, walking for 20-45 minutes a day has just as many health benefits.
While some may scoff at walking, no doubt due to its low difficulty level, the many health benefits of walking as a form of exercise should not be overlooked.
Some Health Benefits of Walking:
- Lower your “bad” (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol
- Raise your “good” (high-density lipoprotein) cholesterol
- Lower your blood pressure
- Reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes
- Manage your weight
- Improve your mood and alleviate symptoms of depression
- Improve cognitive function and decrease cognitive decline
- Help maintain healthy bone density
- Reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer
And you shouldn’t feel pressure to turn your walk into a jog! I know jogging can be too high-intensity for some people, turning it into a stressful, painful activity (not what we’re going for here). However, studies show that walking reduces the risk of heart attack by the same amount as jogging. Plus, your body burns roughly 100 calories per mile, regardless if you are walking or jogging. So if you want to burn 300 calories, walking three miles in 30 minutes will have the same effect as running three miles in 15 minutes. Cool, right?
The key to making your walk successful is making sure that you are going at a brisk pace, not engaging in a leisurely stroll. To lose one pound of fat, you must burn 3500 calories. So according to my calculations…
- Walking at 2 mph, a 150-pound person burns about 171 calories, taking more than 20 hours to lose a pound.
- At 3 mph, it would take 15 hours to lose a pound.
Like yoga, walking is also a great focus and destress exercise for anyone of any age, skill, or fitness level. It is much more low-impact on your joints, easy to start doing, and a convenient activity to fit into your busy schedule. You can walk off the extra pounds, and stress in your life!
Start by setting a goal, either by time (30 minutes) or distance (2 miles), and seeing how achievable you find it to be. Log your walks with me, so I can help keep track of your progress, and we can slowly move the difficulty level of your walk higher as you get fitter, calmer, and more focused.
Ready to start walking? Check out these beginner walking workouts: