The challenge for this month involves what may be the most underrated form of exercise–walking. Walking is a great way to improve your overall fitness and enhance your mental well-being. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates said that “walking is man’s best medicine”.
With the exception of people who live in walking-friendly cities, many of us don’t get the opportunity to walk uninterrupted for more than a few minutes at a time during the day. The National Guidelines for Exercises recommend adults get at least 150 minutes a week of moderate exercise. Brisk walking (roughly 3 miles an hour) falls into the category of moderate exercise so I thought this would make for an excellent challenge.
Benefits of Walking
Regular brisk walking can help you:
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Lift your mood
- Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
- Strengthen your bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis
- Improve your balance and coordination
- Help you sleep better
To reach that 150 minutes a week of exercise all you need to do is walk for 30 minutes five days a week.
Walking Exercise Form
- Stand Tall. Look forward and keep your chest up
- Gently brace your stomach by contracting your abs
- Land lightly on the center of your heel and transition your weight smoothly to the front of your foot, pushing off evenly with your toes
- Keep your steps short and quick. Don’t reach your leg too far out in front of you
- Relax your shoulders and gently pump your arms at your sides
Use the relative intensity scale to gauge your level of exertion. Relative intensity can be estimated using a scale of 0 to 10. Sitting is 0 and your maximum effort is a 10. Keep your walking at a moderate intensity of 5 or 6 on the scale.
The challenge is only planned for one week but feel free to continue the challenge as long as you like. Daily walks are a great chance to reflect and organize your thoughts, listen to audiobooks, spend quality time with family, friends, and co-workers, or simply connect with your surroundings.
Happy walking everybody!