I often hear clients declare their dislike for cardio workouts because they don’t like running or their bodies simply “can’t take running anymore.” My response? You don’t have to run for cardio! Walking is a great alternative for those who aren’t fond of jogging.
People often believe that walking doesn’t equate to exercising and therefore can’t be considered fat-burning cardio. However, nothing can be further from the truth. If done correctly, and with intention, walking has many benefits when it comes to exercising and here are the top five:
Walking briskly for 30 minutes can burn an average of 80-100 calories. That may not seem like a lot but in five days, you’ve burned up to 500 calories – not bad! Whether outside or on the treadmill, add a few hills into your walks and that number is increased. Boost calories burned by taking a natural fat burning supplement prior to your walks.
2. Walking tones and tightens
Walking engages thigh muscles as well as the calves, glutes and core. Incorporating hills into your walks (even if it is every other day) can increase strength in quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. Be mindful and stay focused when you’re walking up and down hills to really feel the muscles you’re using. Maintain good posture (no slumping forward) keeping the core contracted, which helps lower back and abs muscles stay tight.
3. Walking improves heart health
Most of us include daily cardio during our workout routines to improve our overall health, and this includes heart health. Walking regularly increases heart rate, lowers blood pressure, improves circulation and strengthens the heart. Make sure to include plenty of fiber in your daily diet along with heart-healthy supplements such as CoQ10 and omega-3s.
4. Destress while you walk
Ditch the treadmill and take your walk outdoors. Being out in the crisp, fresh air reduces stress hormones, is extremely energizing and can help clear the mind. Consider it a “moving meditation”. By walking outside, your body will also soak up some much-needed vitamin D, which may help regulate mood. Don’t forget to lather on all-natural sunscreen!
Walking has a great benefit of being low-impact, which means it’s gentle on the joints and body overall. There’s no hard pounding or jarring to cause injury – especially if you’ve experienced knee or foot trouble in the past. The impact and compression from consistent walking can strengthen the joints by circulating joint fluid bringing it nutrition and oxygen. Your body will appreciate this later in life!