I've told you before in my other posts that my main form of cardiovascular exercise is walking. I'm thirty-something years old and I am in excellent shape. Oftentimes I am asked by others how many miles do I run each week, and every time they are surprised to find out that I an not a steady-state runner.
I am an advocate for walking. Walking slowly. Walking quickly. Walking up stairs. Walking to the zoo. Walk. Walk. Walk.
A few years ago I discovered that my running was linked to chronic inflammation within my body. I was running 4 times per week with lifting scattered throughout the week too. I was experiencing red skin rashes, constant fatigue, and severe crankiness. That's an understatement-- I was a downright asshole. I even felt a little depressed. After meeting with several doctors who didn't have any information, I sought the advice of a naturopathic doctor.
She asked me what level of exercise I was doing. I explained. And she explained that my running "habit" may be the underlying cause of my symptoms.
She advised that I switch to walking. I was baffled. How was I supposed to stay healthy with just walking? At the time, I was already a walker...I always have been. But, I didn't realize that it could be my main source for fitness.
I dropped the running and swapped in five miles of walking every day. Fast forward now and I am still doing that. I haven't lost muscle...in fact, I'd say that I've built more muscle and lost more body fat.
Some days I walk 8-10 miles. Other days I don't count, but we end up walking through the city all day (6-8 hours) with little stopping.
Walking is incredibly beneficial for your health and I would recommend trying a walking routine if you have been a runner for many years. You may find that you feel better. You may find that you lose unwanted fat. And hell, you may feel more relaxed. I know I do.
I will let you know that I do add in strength training 3-4 times per week. But I am gym-free. I rely on body weight. But this post isn't about that; it's about the benefits of walking.
Here are the main benefits of walking:
Like I said, I walk five miles per day. Depending on your fitness level, that is somewhere between 1.5 and 2.5 hours per day. I would encourage you to buy a pedometer OR just focus on staying in motion throughout the day. I know that it can be hard to do if you work in an office, but there are ways to sneak it in.
You could include "walk breaks" into your schedule. For every hour that you are sedentary, you take 15 minutes to walk. In a ten-hour span that builds to two hours of walking.
You could wake up an hour earlier and take an hour-long, brisk walk. If you really want to rev up the fat loss, then don't eat before you. Drink some water and power through it. Studies show that walking in a "fasting" state triggers your body to burn fat stores.