What you need to know about walking for fitness

Make walking work for you.

If you’ve shied away from physical activity because you believed it had to be intense, let us bless you with a truth bomb you’re going to love — exercise does not need to be intense to be effective! Enter: walking fitness. Yes, walking for fitness is not only acceptable, but it’s highly beneficial and can serve as an integral part of an effective workout routine. 

Whether you’re first getting started on your fitness journey or just can’t be bothered with breathless, sweat-dripping workouts, walking could be a low-cost, low-investment exercise method to help you reach your fitness goals. 

Keep reading to learn the benefits of walking for fitness and why it makes an effective alternative to high-intensity training! 

RELATED: Started Morning With a 15 Minute Walk: Here’s What Happened to My Health

The Benefits of Walking

Walking has some serious benefits for both your physical and mental health. 

For starters, walking for fitness could help support weight lossincrease longevity, improve heart healthdecrease your risk of diabetesand may even help you become more creative.

The takeaway? It really just helps you start to feel better overall! And, there’s more. This low-intensity exercise also reduces the risk of stressing out your joints and leaving you absolutely taxed after every workout, while saving you some extra cash by forgoing a pricey gym membership. 

The best part? Walking fitness is one of the easiest things to do to get you moving. For most of you, all you need to do is lace up your sneakers and leave your house! And, there’s no one best way to get your steps in. According to research, walking can be just as effective whether you do it in little burststhroughout the day or longer bouts at once. It’s about making it work for you and your schedule! 

So if you work a desk job, let this serve as motivation to move! Get those steps in and avoid the many risks of a sedentary lifestyle

RELATED: The Amazing Benefits of Walking

What is Walking For Fitness?

Before we go further, what is walking for fitness?

Walking for fitness is simply applying intention to your walks. This means taking your goals, fitness level, CDC activity recommendations, and schedule into consideration when creating a fitness walking plan. 

Instead of leisurely strolling through your neighborhood, you’ll want to focus on increasing your heart rate, reaching a certain number of walking minutes per day, and maintaining proper walking form.

How to Get Started With Walking Fitness?

Good news — if you have a pair of sneakers, you’re ready to start a walking fitness routine. However, it’s important to set yourself up for success. Like any new workout plan, it’s easy to have the best intentions but lose focus along the way. These five steps will help you reach your fitness goals with walking. 

#1 Set a Weekly Goal

Your walking routine will be an important part of reaching your fitness goals, but it won’t be the only one! When it comes to staying healthy, strong, and fit, a balanced routine is one that includes cardiovascular, strength, flexibility, and mobility training. 

Keep in mind, your walking routine should be planned around your strength training days. You can walk before or after resistance training, at a different time of day, or even on different days, just make sure you’re hitting your weekly goal of 150 minutes. 

#2 Schedule Your Walks

To ensure you reach your weekly goal, schedule your walks like meetings. After all, studies show the habits that stick are the ones you do on a regular basis (and at similar times each day/week). 

Say you want to walk 30 minutes a day, five days per week. You could do one long 30-minute walk, or you could break it up. Maybe you take two 15-minute walks, or maybe even three 10-minute walks! Just make sure you’re staying consistent with your schedule. 

#3 Always Know Your “Why”

Remember when you read the section on the benefits of walking a couple of minutes ago? That was fun, right? You started to visualize a happier and healthier version of you. It felt good and you felt motivated. But, motivation is fleeting. You may find yourself feeling super inspired some days and the complete opposite on others. This is why it’s so important to know your why.

Write it down and visualize yourself as that calmer, more motivated, and inspired version of you. The one that sticks to his/her walking routine! 

And on the days where motivation is nowhere to be found, go back to your “why.” Some days may feel tougher than others, but know you’re walking your way towards your goals. Don’t give up! 

#4 Start a Walking Journal

While physical changes happen more gradually, the mental benefits from walking exercise can be pretty instantaneous. Really instill this gratification by writing down how you feel after each walk (or at the end of the day). This will help solidify your new walking habit unconsciously, making it that much easier to stick to. As your brain realizes how good it feels after each walk, it will actually start telling you to walk on a subconscious level!

#5 Enhance Your Walking Routine

Adding some flavor to your walks makes them even more fun, which makes you more likely to keep taking them. We love jamming out to our favorite tunes, listening to a podcast or audiobook, or even asking a friend to join our walks. You’ll be shocked how fast the time flies when you’re having a blast!

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