I love to stay active. I find that being active daily makes me feel better than when I do nothing physical so for me, it makes sense to do something as often as I can. As I’ve gotten a bit older and have been physically active well over 40 years now, I’ve gotten a bit smarter (not much, just a bit) and look for activities that are fun, physically stimulating (challenges my heart, lungs, muscles, functionality, balance) and are safe for me to do. Safe in that I limit the downside of injury while I’m performing an activity as well as how it will effect me in the long run (just because something doesn’t bother you while you’re doing it doesn’t mean it won’t later in the short term or long term).
For years now I have been an avid cyclist. I have a few bikes to my name and depending on my mood, desired effect, weather and some other factors, I will opt for a particular bike to use for a particular stimulus. Without getting into too many boring details, suffice it to say that I have a variety of bikes that give me a variety of benefits and so I have utilized these bikes to recreate and enhance my fitness. See, most folks think that improving your cardiovascular system, body composition, mobility, blood pressure, etc. is relegated to the gym. It’s not. You don’t need a special aerobic program to get fit. You don’t need to have a machine tell you when to go faster or to slow down, go up a hill or down a hill because when you are out recreating, you are doing all that inherently.
I could go on here but I’ll just get down to the take home message: get out, expand your options, your mind and your lungs. Go for a walk, bike ride, jog, hike, play volleyball, etc. outside and enjoy the many benefits of recreational activity. I promise you it’s a lot less boring and has many more advantages.
In my opinion, one of the most underrated activities a person can do is walk. A lot of people don’t find value in walking, and that’s unfortunate because there are many benefits that can come from taking a stroll.
Walking contributes in several ways to your health and well-being. It can help you reduce weight, lower stress, improve flexibility and mobility, increase cardio-respiratory fitness, exposure to vitamin D, improve lung capacity, provide an opportunity to clear your mind or give you time to think, have alone time or spend time with a friend, reduce muscle soreness and arthritis pain, increase leg and core strength, etc., etc.
Interval training is usually associated with all-out, gut busting effort, but it doesn’t have to be that way all the time. In fact, we probably engage in interval training more often than we recognize such as walking up a flight of stairs or hurry across a street to get to the corner. Another means of achieving an interval effect is to keep rest periods to a minimum while strength training (that’s how we do it) to get the best of both worlds. In this quick clip, leading authority on interval training, Dr. Martin Gibala talks about walking and intervals.
A new study shows how as little as 20 minutes of walking can help reduce inflammation. If you are having trouble with inflammation – and inflammation can effect muscles, joints, bones, cause headaches, gut problems, vision and much more, getting out and walking at a deliberate pace might be helpful. It may not heal you entirely (and then again it could so it’s certainly worth the time to try), but it can and will play into your pain-management plan.
This is going to be a very short post with a short, yet specific point and that is this: WALK!
Walking is beneficial on many, many levels and I think everyone should engage in it daily. To make life easier and my point more impactual, let me break it down for you. On average, most people are awake 15 hours each day. If one were to walk approximately 6 minutes each hour that would be 90 minutes of activity per day. Depending on stride length and pace/speed, most people will probably walk about 80-100 steps per minute. Therefore, in an hour you could, in all practicality, walk 480-600 steps. Multiply that by 15 hours per day and that will yield you approximately 7,200 – 9,000 steps each day. Not bad!
If your unable to walk that much in a day, start out slowly but be consistent. Even if you get a few thousand steps a day, it’s better than not. Each week add 5% to your previous total so you are progressive in your efforts. Invest in a Fitbit, walk with a friend or family member, walk at lunch time, before/after work, weekends, etc., etc. but do yourself a favor and get walking!