Reaping the benefits of exercise doesn’t have to be difficult and time-consuming. You don’t need a gym membership, a detailed exercise regime, and a clear schedule to improve your overall health. While these things can definitely help make exercise more efficient, all you really need to make a positive change in your health is a can-do attitude and a few minutes of your day.
People walk all the time; to work, to the store, and to the fridge for that late-night snack. But did you know that setting aside just a few minutes of your day for a brisk walk up the street or around the block can help you live a healthier life? That’s right, you can simply walk your way to fitness!
According to MayoClinic.org, Taking regular brisk walks can offer a wide variety of health benefits. These benefits include maintaining a healthy weight, improving your mood, strengthening bones and muscles, preventing or managing conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes as well as improving overall balance and coordination. That’s a lot of good things that can come from just walking, so here’s what you can do to get started!
The first thing you should do is to set yourself up for success. Start small and work your way up towards bigger and better goals, especially if you’re new to exercising. Starting with just 5 to 10 minutes of brisk walking when you wake up, on your lunch break, or when you get home from work can be a great starting point. Try to stick to your starting schedule so that it becomes a healthy habit. When you feel that routine is becoming fairly easy, try to up the ante for maybe 15 to 20 minutes of walking per day. Setting realistic and achievable goals is a great way to stay motivated, and before long you’ll be living a healthier lifestyle.
There are also a lot of things you can do to make walking an enjoyable activity. Try finding a walking partner that has goals that are similar to yours. You can use each other to stay accountable and keep on target. You can also try listening to your favorite music or podcasts while you walk. This can help keep you distracted and make the time go by a lot quicker. Some people find that combining mindfulness and walking can be quite enjoyable as well. Next time you walk try some mindful exercises using your senses. Try noticing colors of leaves, hearing the sounds around you and the scents in the air. Smiling at other walkers and exchanging pleasant greetings can also improve your experience and your mood along with it. Making the exercise enjoyable helps ensure that you stay consistent in reaching your goals.
Take time to remind yourself of any positive changes that you notice such as good mood changes, less joint pain, more energy, etc. Recognizing the benefits that come from regular exercise, such as walking, will motivate you to keep going, and the further and faster you walk, the more benefits you’ll begin to notice. So, lace up and start walking towards a healthier life!