Summer is here, and nature and the outdoors are calling. It’s time to go to the beach, picnics, family get-togethers, or just a walk in the park. Whichever you choose, Covid-19 restrictions are easing, and it is time for us to get back to normal and get back in the sunshine.
Americans have been locked up for over a year and many of us were working from home, and our children were inside, going to school virtually. It was a sacrifice many of us made, whether it was voluntarily or not. We did what we needed to do.
It is, however, time now to recommit ourselves to fitness and a good place to start is on our feet. It is time to take a deep breath and hit the trails, streets, or parks. Let’s get those “old sneakers” out and take a walk. Walking is beautiful.
I have been a proponent of walking since I started my fitness journey years ago, when I ballooned up to almost 300 lbs. it was an easy and safe exercise. Plus, it was an inexpensive way to begin working out. All I needed was a safe place to walk.
Of all the exercises that have been created, walking is the most natural. We do it every day; we were created to walk. It is natural and normal. As a matter of fact, walking is so natural that sometimes I hate calling it exercise, but, in our modern world, it is. When travelers and settlers made their way across America to settle this country, many of them were on foot. I am sure they were not thinking they were getting a good day’s exercise. It was a matter of life and, yes, death, for them.
But in our modern world, with cars, buses, trains, and planes, walking is almost a forgotten art. During my time as a police officer, I heard shoppers and merchants complain that people would not go shopping or visit their store if they had to walk too far. Really, walk too far????
Let’s be glad our ancestors, wherever they originated from, did not feel that way. No matter what you believe about your genetic family or how peaceful you dream they were, they once got up and looked around and said, “we have to move to survive,” and they did. They did it, fighting disease, starvation, and all the elements and heartache they had to face. And yes, they did it on foot. Walking.
Let’s be honest – one of the reasons walking is not pushed as a fitness gold standard is that it does not seen as sexy, and the reason it is not seen as sexy is that you can’t make a lot of money off of it. You don’t need a $10,000 machine to look sweaty and hot getting in shape when you walk. You don’t need thousands of dollars of workout equipment or a gym membership. Hell, you don’t even need a $200 pair of shoes. You just need a good pair of comfortable walking shoes.
A few weeks ago, I saw a woman walking at a healthy pace on a neighborhood sidewalk. She was just wearing a pair of casual shorts, a visor, and a nice t-shirt. (That is all I can testify to.) On her feet, she wore a nice pair of athletic shoes. Nothing ridiculously expensive, just a nice pair of shoes.
All I could think of was, and herein lies the problem with making walking sexy – this person was doing a 100% great workout and yet she did not spend a fortune. She was a great example of a fit person and hard worker. She is and was an inspiration.
Walking is a great exercise and all of us should do it. Even yours truly, who sometimes likes lifting weights too much and skips the walk. We have to do cardio and walking is great way to do it.
All you need is 30 minutes. And if you don’t have 30 minutes, make 30 minutes happen. You can do it and you owe it to yourself. Make. It. Happen!
Below is a list of the health benefits of walking 30 minutes a day from the Better Health Channel:
You carry your own body weight when you walk. This is known as weight-bearing exercise. Some of the benefits include:
- Increased cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) fitness
- Reduced risk of heart disease and stroke
- Improved management of conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, joint and muscular pain or stiffness, and diabetes
- Stronger bones and improved balance
- Increased muscle strength and endurance
- Reduced body fat. (https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/walking-for-good-health)
And yes, trust me, you will be sexier, or so, I have heard. So get out there and walk. You owe it to yourself, to your family, and to your career. Be the best you you can be.
Joseph St. John
The 40+ & Fit Guy