Fitness, Health, Lifestyle

5 Best Ways for Walking to Fitness

“Sitting is the new smoking.” a line coined by professor of medicine James Levine of Mayo Clinic is heard often nowadays, and why not? Whether it is for work, poring over our gadgets, lazing out and consuming content on OTT, or simply rewarding ourselves with total inactivity after a hard week, we tend to find a hundred excuses to park ourselves on the couch. While gorging on fatty and unhealthy food, if I may add. Is this a responsible move when it comes to our health though? Studies say that a sedentary lifestyle can lead to higher chances of gaining weight, and pave the way for early onset of lifestyle diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure. Hence, if training in gyms isn’t on the cards yet, walking and other helpful exercises like Yoga can be our saviour.

Walking is one of the easiest, most affordable, and abominably underrated forms of workout. You don’t need a trainer for it, don’t need any prep time, and can simply don your gear and start! It has amazing long-term benefits like better cardiovascular fitness, regulated weight and body fat issues, stronger bones, and improved endurance. No wonder then that unswervingly hitting the 10k steps mark is considered a good sign of dedication towards good health.

Having said that, people commit some routine mistakes while walking which defeat the entire purpose of the activity. The downside of easy walking also entails that it isn’t taken seriously as a workout. Sharing a few simple tips that you might relate to and want to work on to make the best of it.

Wear comfortable and good quality sportswear

A good pair of shoes and sportswear made with a breathable, quick-dry fabric helps to elevate your walking experience. Your focus needs to be on your breath, your heartbeat, and your step. Getting slowed down due to uncomfortable footwear causing blisters or chaffing due to improper clothes will make you wary of stepping out again. Women who walk in sarees or maxis should wear a pair of leggings underneath to avoid rashes and boils on the inner thighs. Also, if you need to carry a dupatta, please secure it in a tight knot so it doesn’t interfere with your walking.

Pace yourself and maintain a step count

Brisk walking is different from jogging but can give you some of its benefits. It helps regulate your blood pressure, aids in fat loss and maintains a healthy weight. However, unless walking is done in continuity for at least 30 minutes, you won’t gain much from it. Taking 10-15 minutes to walk one km works for beginners but slow improvement of pace is important for better stamina. However, if you have any health issues or injuries, please choose whatever works for you. You can use your watch, phone, or a pedometer to keep track of the step count. There are many apps and gadgets to delegate this job so you can concentrate on yourself.

Keep distractions at bay

If you’re someone who dials your family or friends for the latest gossip as soon as you start your walk, this is for you. While men have their fair share of heart-to-heart during their strolls, women take it a notch higher and more frequently. If we had a rupee for every time we saw a woman talking away while pretending to walk, we would be able to fund the latest pair of shoes! Ditto for people who plug in their headphones. This can be a serious safety issue for self and others, especially on roads. These distractions envelop you in a false sense of achievement while practically doing nothing for your health. Listen to the sounds of nature and observe your surroundings instead.

Don’t turn walking into a social exercise

Building upon the point above, don’t turn walking into a social circle-building exercise (unless that’s deliberate!) if you’re aiming for fitness. Every time you halt to ‘catch up’ with anyone your body cools down and restarts the entire process. It’s like preheating an oven to bake but letting it cool down before you slide your batter in. The result is half-baked, worthless, and a sad waste of time and resources. Choose your casual wandering days wisely so they don’t disturb your routine. We deserve break days for being consistent too, after all.

Hydrate yourself properly

While staying hydrated largely depends upon the weather and season, it is a good idea to carry a small water bottle when you step out. Sweating makes you lose salt, which is healthy, but in extreme cases may require immediate replenishment. You may add electrolytes to it for an energy boost if needed. Please ensure to take small sips rather than gulping it all down in one go to avoid a coughing fit.

Apart from the umpteen physical benefits walking is good for your mental health too. It improves blood circulation in your body leading to relaxed sleep and in effect, a positive mood. Your energy levels improve over time making you feel good, inside out. Walking regularly makes you mentally alert, gives you time to introspect and aids in better concentration. It is one of the best ways to get some me time and will surely be lauded by your family and friends. What’s more, it can have anti-aging effects and make you feel and look young. Do you need any more reasons to start walking for fitness, today?

This blog post is part of the blog challenge ‘Blogaberry Dazzle’ hosted by Cindy D’Silva and Noor Anand Chawla in collaboration with Bohemian Bibliophile.

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49 thoughts on “5 Best Ways for Walking to Fitness

  1. Great tips Varsha on reaping the maximum benefits through walking as an exercise. I have been an avid walker for a long duration now and I too feel it is the best and safest exercise for all age groups and sexes.

  2. Good tips. I’ve begun listening to audiobooks on my morning walks and it’s really working well. I feel my walk finishes without any boredom. I just keep the hyderating for when I’m home because I hate carrying anything in my hand while walking…

    1. Walks are the cure for boredom, no? 🙂 I don’t like carrying anything too but with the humidity and intensity of my walk/run it is advisable to hydrate at intervals.

  3. Your post came at the right time. I just realized that it’s been 2 weeks that I didn’t do any physical activity. I need to start walking again, thanks for the tips, Varsha!

  4. I was waiting for summers to come and it is almost there and I promise to go out for a walk and that too no nonsense walk which I used to do alone or maximum with my husband. There are some good side of walking alone or with husband. No neighbors especially I am talking about female neighbours disturbs you with their chit chat when husband is there with you. I step out to walk alone when I get sure my round table female neighbours are not roaming useless gossiping about others. I really don’t enjoy silly gossips like this. I count my steps and the sweat that I experience gives me a sense of satisfaction that yes I am burning my extra fat a little everyday. Summers remind me to hydrate me more… What you say Varsha? Am I on right track or need to make some changes… plz guide.

    1. You’re just like me, Samata! Other than my husband or runner friends I hate going out with anyone else and religiously avoid the gossip brigade. If you’re sweating and counting your steps you’re absolutely on the right track!

  5. I enjoy slow walks, solitary walks. And keeping the talking out certainly, sometimes, I enjoy listening to podcasts on my walks, birding along the path, stopping to admire the beauty. Other days, I just walk. Yes, it’s an underrated activity, yet the best way to rejuvenate yourself.

  6. For me walking in the morning is my me time. It’s very refreshing and I feel energetic throughout the day. And I totally agree right kind of shoe with good amount of hydration is very important

  7. Great tips. People usually underestimate the benefits of walking. It is much better for heart health and does not need equipment.

  8. These are really great tips. Personally i have witnessed a great change in experience with and without something playing ear. I felt much more in synch without any music playing or podcast chatter!

  9. In today’s fast-paced world, where technology often encourages prolonged periods of inactivity, it’s crucial to highlight the importance of incorporating physical activity into our daily routines. Beyond the physical benefits, your discussion of the mental and emotional advantages of walking adds depth to the narrative. By highlighting the positive impact of walking on mood, concentration, and overall well-being, you provide all of us with additional motivation to prioritize this form of exercise. I need to get walking now!

  10. I just turned 60, Varsha. But you won’t believe until 3 years ago I have never walked even half a kilometer and now it’s such an addiction. 4km is the minimum target for me every single day. And today I learnt that walking barefoot on sand or grass is a great help for diabetes.

    1. That’s great, Harjeet. 4 kms at this age is very good. I have a minimum aim of 6kms per day and I walk or run. It’s really therapeutic. Barefoot walking is definitely good for health.

  11. Very timely post – this year I am planning to become a little more regular with my walking and you have given some great tips. The point about at least 30 minutes of walking was useful and let’s see how soon can I get there.

  12. Wow, Varsha, your post really hit home for me! You’ve highlighted such important points about the importance of comfortable shoes and breathable sportswear while walking, especially in Gulf countries where the humidity can make it challenging to stay comfortable. Since walking became monotonous for me, my group of friends and I decided to take up cricket, and I’m thoroughly enjoying it. Once the humidity returns, we’ll be back at the gym.

  13. Easy and doable tips which we often seem to neglect. Thanks a ton Varsha for opening my eyes to the immenint mistakes I make in the name of ‘walking’. Will be more alert and careful henceforth. Walking is thereupatic for me and mostly I like to indulge in my favourite playlist whilst I try to shed some kilos away.

    1. Glad I could be of help! Walking is fun and must be enjoyed. It only needs to follow certain rules if you’re aiming to gain fitness with it. I have a playlist for lazy days too.

  14. I have been wanting to (actually i need to) add daily walks to my routine, but something or the other keeps happening and it gets left… i agree it is the easiest way to get fit and healthy and i need to really work on this too.

  15. Loved your tips Varsha and can’t agree more. I am a fitness enthusiast too and I have been deliberating walking in the evenings but haven’t started yet. I workout in the mornings.
    Women pretending to walk while talking on the phone… lol…so typical! I get to see plenty on a daily basis. One thing that I really liked is how u have specified that it’s useless to walk for less than 30mins. Infact, I learned recently that it’s imp to brisk walk for atleast 40mins if your intention is to lose weight as ‘load shedding’ happens only in the last 12/15mins.

    1. I’m glad I have someone on the same page as me. So many people get the simplest things wrong and then wonder why they aren’t losing any weight. Walking can indeed help put down if done consistently and effectively.

  16. Walking is my fave exercise – both for my physical and mental health. However, I walk while listening to music in a jogger’s park – it helps me maintain my fast pace. On days I don’t have music, I walk slower and feel tired more easily. So each to their own I guess 🙂

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