Most of us have added daily walks to our regular routines over the past few months. But did you know that walking can also be used as a workout? Walking is an excellent option that is completely free, straightforward, and customizable to your needs.
As the COVID-19 pandemic has become a major health concern, more people are turning to walking to get out of the house and get moving. Walking can help to relieve the boredom of being at home, offer time for a change of scenery, and structure to what is otherwise a top-heavy day.
It is also a good idea to take a walk to get some exercise. It is fine to keep them low-intensity, especially for the purpose of fresh air or mental-health benefits, but they can also be made quite intense so that it feels like a moderate to an intense workout. Those of us who depended on indoor cycling classes are lacking cardio options since many gyms remain closed (and even if yours is open, you might not feel comfortable going back).
The intention is the first step toward making the shift. Identify beforehand what your exercise plan is, and prepare for success ahead of time. In other words, decide in advance whether your walking goal is to get your heart rate up or build your strength and endurance. Just like you would an exercise class in a studio or on Zoom, schedule a walking workout into your calendar. Next, decide exactly how you will carry out your plan.
Walking is a simple, free, and flexible activity. The first few times you walk far, you may experience some pain or shortness of breath because of your sedentary lifestyle. Don’t give up! Walking a little farther every day will gradually increase your stamina. However, if you are not patient enough for that, there are some other tricks you can try to reach your goals faster.
By Improving Your Cardiovascular Fitness
Keep in mind that energy ebbs and flows naturally as you strive to increase your energy levels. Do not anticipate operating at your maximum capacity all the time. Pay attention to your body and take breaks when needed. Don’t push yourself to the point of exhaustion. In addition to the physical benefits of walking, the mental benefits may also be more immediate if you include it in your daily routine.
- Start with walks with a duration of 30 minutes for at least 3 days a week. Walking regularly improves your cardiovascular fitness gradually, but don’t worry if you can’t walk for this long right away. Over time, your body becomes accustomed to a certain level of activity, making it easier for you to walk longer.
- Take a longer walk at least once a week. At least one of your sessions should include a longer walk to gradually increase your endurance. You may start by walking a small distance at first. With time, however, the distance will increase (as well as the time commitment).
- Walk at a brisk pace which is faster than a stroll, but not necessarily the fastest you can walk. If you download a step app for your smartphone or smartwatch, it will help you keep pace.
- Varying terrain and elevation will change the resistance. It is more difficult to walk on grass or sand than on a paved trail. You can also build your endurance by including plenty of hills on your route.
- When walking, carry weight. Add resistance to your walk if you have only a short period of time available. Ankle and wrist weights are available at sporting goods and department stores (or online), but they are not entirely necessary. Alternatively, you can simply load up a backpack with a few books or solid objects and carry them.
By Including Activity in Everyday Life
- Make walking a regular part of your routine. Consider your daily routine and add more walking into the mix. When you keep moving constantly rather than sitting still, you’ll gradually build stamina.
- Use a fitness app to track your steps. It helps you set yourself goals to remain active and improve your walking stamina over a period of time. You can also compete with other users of the same app, which can provide you with additional motivation.
- Engage in physical activity for at least 10 minutes at a time. You won’t benefit as much from shorter bursts of activity if you’re trying to improve your stamina. Make an effort to keep your activity up for at least 10 minutes, even if you just pace around your house or jog in place.
- Take advantage of your downtime by doing bodyweight exercises. Since bodyweight exercises require no equipment, they can be done anywhere. Even jumping jacks or toe touches can be utilized during downtime to keep you active. Keeping yourself active during these periods will help you build strength, endurance, and cardiovascular stamina over time.
Some Tips You Can Follow
- It is useful to perform breathing exercises and the load of the walk should not cause shortness of breath.
- It helps to have music playing during a walk. Music not only boosts your mood but can actually make hard efforts feel easier.
- It is also helpful to take a few minutes to further loosen warm, limber muscles after a walk in order to ease some of the strain and fatigue you have built up.
- It is important to wear comfortable walking shoes like sneakers. The most important rule when it comes to walking is to avoid wearing slippers, pumps, high-heeled shoes, and especially shoes with no heels.
- Try to challenge yourself to do things you wouldn’t normally do and become comfortable with pushing yourself when you start building your stamina.
If you feel as though you are making changes but you still aren’t seeing any results, you might wish to see a doctor. The doctor can identify any underlying health conditions that may be affecting your performance. The important thing is to concentrate on creating a plan that will maximize your overall wellbeing.