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“I haven’t exercised in years and am afraid to join any class. What can I do?”
This is another super common question I get from people who don’t know where to start with exercise. Either they haven’t participated in any activity or they are worried that they weigh too much to safely start an exercise program.
Walking is one of the best forms of exercise for most people. Start with small goals based on what you can handle. This isn’t a competition, each person needs to find their own personal starting point. If you walk to the end of your block and back, and that’s all you can manage, awesome! You found your start point! How exciting because over time, you’ll blow past that first walk.
If you can walk 30 minutes, fantastic! Walk 30 minutes a day, a few days a week. You can either increase time or intensity as you progress.
There are so many benefits to walking, so please don’t feel like you’re not doing much. You’re taking care of your body, one step at a time, literally.
Benefits of Walking
Walking is cheap. Besides a comfortable pair of walking shoes, there are no other costs associated with walking outside. There’s no need for a treadmill or a gym membership.
It can be social. It’s a great way to catch up with friends, kids, or a spouse. Take a family walk and spend the time checking in with each other. Instead of meeting for lunch, go for a walk with a friend.
Personal time – Instead of making it a social event, take the time for yourself. Use that time to brainstorm solutions to problems you might be facing. Or, use the time to clear your head and decompress from all the attention pulls we all face.
There are numerous health benefits from taking a regular walk.
It can be a weight loss tool. Adding additional movement into your day will burn additional calories. A little tip though, one I speak from direct experience, make sure you don’t use it as an excuse to eat more! Yes, I’ve don’t that in the past and then scratched my head why the scale wasn’t budging.
Getting sun is a fantastic side benefit of walking outdoors. Boosting the Vitamin D while enjoying fresh air is a great bonus.
Muscle Toning – Walking will help boost our lower body muscles. For an extra push, walk some hills.
Pride – Giving yourself accolades for creating a new healthy habit is a big deal. Start walking, stick with it, and there’s a foundation to continue building additional fitness goals.
What you need
Shoes: As I stated earlier, a good pair of shoes is all you need to get out and walk. I love love my Saucony’s to walk in because they have FANTASTIC arch support for a flat footed person like me and they’re quite padded. These are what I take to Disney too for the walking around. If I’m lucky, I’ll find them at Marshall’s, but if not, I will buy them at Amazon. These are neutral and match perfectly to just about anything: Saucony Women’s Cohesion 10 Running Shoe, Grey/Mint, 7 M US.
Headphones: I need music when I walk. When I hike, I prefer to listen to nature, but when I’m walking in my neighborhood, I don’t need to hear the cars driving past me. I pop in some headphones, turn on music (have to have my phone, just in case I get a call from the kids school, which does happen on occasion.) and let my mind wander. I’ve recently been converted to wireless headphones and they’re so wonderful! These Bluetooth Headphones, Otium Wireless Sports Earphones w/ Mic IPX7 Waterproof HD Stereo Sweatproof In Ear Earbuds for Gym Running Workout 8 Hour Battery Noise Cancelling Headsets are a game changer for me as I didn’t think the wire was a big deal. It’s not, but the convenience of not messing with a wire is AWESOME.
Really, that’s all I use. It’s the cheapest form of exercise out there and a great way to take time out for yourself!
Walking is a great starting point to kick off a new habit. Pulling friends or family along for conversation or taking time to reflect and plan on your own, there’s no right or wrong way. Making it five minutes or 35 minutes, one block or one mile, creating a schedule that works for you is the only way to do it. Don’t compare yourself to what your neighbor or best friend or co-worker does, focus on what you can do now, and where you want to be in a month from now. Adjust your walking to schedule as you get stronger and reward yourself for creating a new habit.