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The Secret to Getting Fit, Staying Fit and Feeling Great … Walking!

road-749528_640For the regular Joe, or Sue, working out can be a chore.

Yes, we know we should do it. Yes, it does make us feel good … afterwards. And yes, you can physically see, and mentally feel, the benefits with time.

But still, it can feel like a chore.

And that’s often because we’re doing exercises or workouts that we think we should be doing, rather than doing exercise that we enjoy doing.

Now, if you’re doing exercise to lose weight within a time frame or get fit for a specific event, then unfortunately drastic measures may need to be taken – depending on your circumstances. Which can mean doing exercise you may not enjoy.

But if you’re exercising to get fit and maintain a healthier lifestyle, with the added bonus of losing weight and feeling great thrown in, you don’t need to slog it out for an hour at the gym three times a week.

Doesn’t it make sense that you’ll stick at something you enjoy doing, even if means it may take slightly longer to be healthier, fitter and slimmer?

Of course it does!

So with that in mind … have you tried walking?

Walking is a much underrated form of exercise, but a great way to improve fitness levels. Not only that, but walking has been proven to have mental health benefits too.

And all you need is a good pair of supportive trainers and the great outdoors.

But there are a few rules to reap the fitness benefits of walking …

Beginner level:

  1. Walk at a pace slightly above your normal stroll.
  2. Pump your arms in time with your steps.
  3. Look ahead with your eyes, rather than at the ground – this will keep your posture straighter.
  4. Engage your core muscles and feel your waist move from side-to-side with each step.
  5. Take the ‘walk and talk test’ – you should be able to chat briefly. If you’re out of breathe slow down. Conversely, if you can easily chat for a few minutes without taking too much breath, you should pick up the pace.
  6. Aim for at least 2.5 hours per week – just 30 minutes five times a week.

Advanced walkers:

  1. Speed up. Try brisk walking for the entire workout, or interval training if you’re progressing from beginner to advance.
  2. Pump the arms in time keeping the movement compact to ensure speed is maintained.
  3. Try hill walking whilst maintaining speed to increase the intensity.
  4. Add weights to increase resistance – the best way to do this is adding weight to a backpack, not hand or ankle weights which can cause injury.
  5. Aim for at least 4 hours per week – just 60 minutes four times a week.

Walking may seem like a ‘non-exercise’ since we do it every day. But when done as a form of exercise, you’ll realise that the day-to-day walking is just a means of getting from A to B.

When walking for exercise, you will:

  • Get fitter
  • Be healthier
  • Become more mindful
  • Really ‘see’ the place in which you live
  • Make friends or strengthen friendships when walking with someone

So if you hate the gym or don’t enjoy running but still want to get fit, try walking for exercise.

It’s free and really works!

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