Personally, I donâ€™t get too excited about exercise.
But thatâ€™s okay â€“ because exercise doesnâ€™t only mean you have to sit down and twist yourself into all these postures. Sometimes, exercise means taking a brisk walk to boost your energy.
I am a nineteen-year-old student. I just finished my A-Level and I am on my way to university this fall. Understandably, I donâ€™t have much time in between my studies and other obligations. But walking isnâ€™t that hard or time-consuming. In fact, if done right, it can be time-saving.
How to get started
I first started walking when I was still in school and my summer holidays had begun. I hardly felt hungry anymore because I was sitting in bed all day. I ate either way out of boredom. I had a feeling if it continued on like this, I would gain a few unwanted pounds. By that time, we had a treadmill in our house that nobody used.
On one fine day, I decided that I did not want to disrupt my healthy weight. I lowered the treadmill and inserted the switch in the socket. Earphones in, I walked for around ten minutes the first time. The second time, I increased my walking time â€“ only a minute or two more than the previous day. I stopped when I shed around a hundred or more calories per day. My walk was brisk; on my treadmill, this meant I had to keep the speed in the range of four to four point seven. I was careful not to increase it anymore because that would require me to run.
Taking time out for walking was really easy because I didnâ€™t have to do much. A fifteen-minute walk could do wonders; I felt more energized and I managed to maintain my weight. Moreover, I managed to listen to the audios that I had saved on my playlist.
This winter vacation, however, I decided to change the scenery and went out for morning walks in the park near me. I have always been a nature-loving person â€“ the greenery soothed my eyes and the pathway was flanked by trees which gave it a heavenly look. The cold weather was the cherry on the top.
To get started, the easiest thing to do is to find a park near you where thereâ€™s a walking track.
If not a park, you can visit the gym but I personally prefer parks because aside from the benefits of walking, you can benefit from the early morning light and fresh air.
If you can afford a treadmill, thatâ€™s well and good because itâ€™s quite convenient to be able to walk inside your home.
Another thing that you need to take care of: comfortable shoes. I started off bare-footed on the treadmill before I realized that the surface was too rough. Buy yourself a pair of joggers. Make sure you are comfortable in your clothes as well.
Choose a time when the sun is not at its peak â€“ morning is the best time to go for a walk but if thatâ€™s not possible, you can go for evening or later in the afternoon when the sun is losing its power.
Start slow. Do not immediately start walking for an hour a day because you will lose motivation or end up with aching legs.
If you do not have the time to go walking somewhere, try to grab opportunities for walking â€“ take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk to your grocery store, etc
What to expect
If you are thinking this is some magic recipe to fitness, then thatâ€™s not quite what it is.
The fruits of walking will show upâ€¦if youâ€™re consistent. Even if you canâ€™t see them â€“ with just fifteen minutes of walking per day, you will definitely get healthier.
You can, however, expect to have fun. Enjoy the scenery around you â€“ vary your walking paths (you can try out different parks or walk around the city) and observe the hustle bustle of the streets. You can also expect to find opportunities to take aesthetic pictures if you are into that kind of thing.
Benefits of walking
It is fascinating how something as simple as walking can bring so many benefits.
- Empirical evidence suggests that it reduces risk of heart diseases.
- It results in weight loss â€“ you can burn a lot of calories that way.
- Walking reduces the risk of grave diseases such as stroke or diabetes.
- It results in improved circulation of blood. The brain gets the right amount of oxygen and glucose, thereby increasing intelligence.
- Itâ€™s a preventative measure for dementia.
- Walking leaves you with stronger bones and muscles, reducing the risk of arthritis.
- Walking in the morning, especially, gets you the required amount of vitamin D.
- It is known to uplift mood and reduces stress.
- It is a good measure for people with digestive problems.
- Walking can help your creative juices flow.
How to find a place or group of people
People differ in how they choose to walk.
If you have a dog, then thatâ€™s a pretty good excuse to start walking.
If you canâ€™t walk alone, ring up your friends and make plans. Walking in the park can also introduce you to people who come in at the same time and you can eventually socialize with them.
If you donâ€™t have a park nearby, you can simply walk on the streets. It might be a good idea if you want to walk alone and if you want to vary your view each time. For example, you can choose different starting points; sometimes, from your home, sometimes, from your workplace or school and sometimes, from the library perhaps.
A lot of it depends on how you prefer things.
Walking is a win-win situation â€“ you can have fun and stay fit at the same time. Itâ€™s easy to take out fifteen minutes from your busy schedule to take a quick walk. Moreover, itâ€™s not as hard as any of the other exercises that you might come up with; all you have to do is move your legs. In the end, youâ€™ll feel refreshed and you wonâ€™t be too tired to work on the next task on your to-do list.