Why I Love Walking
It’s 8am and I’m suiting up the dogs for our morning walk around the neigborhood. We are really lucky we live near a golf course and there is a quaint little path that follows above the golf course so not only do we get the benefit of getting our heart rate up, we have beautiful views of the course, the sweet smell of flowers, budding trees, and a cool breeze from the ocean. Our walk is about a mile and a half and is just perfect for starting our day. This is just one of the many reasons I love walking!
About six years ago and prior, if you had asked me how I felt about walking as my exercise of choice, I would have responded that I wasn’t a huge fan. I felt walking was more of a lazy person’s exercise or was something my elder friends did. At the time, I was more of a runner, running on average seven to eight miles five times a week with a long twelve-miler at least once a week. If I wasn’t running outdoors along the beach, I was at the gym on the stairmaster, treadmill, lifting weights or all three! And I wasn’t running solely because I loved to run, I was more afraid of getting fat and I felt running was the fastest way to burn calories and get overall body toning. While running does have some advantages on fast calorie burn, it can also wear on your feet, your knees and other parts of your body. Quite frankly, running can be intimidating to some people. Don’t get me wrong, I still run from time to time, and I have lots of friends that love a good run. But, over the years I’ve learned that walking keeps me bikini just as well as running did and I get to enjoy the scenery a bit more.
Here’s why I love a good walk:
*You can talk to your friend while you walk. Make a date with a neighbor or friend to go for a walk. Having a scheduled time will help you stick to it and chatting with friends helps pass the time!
*My dogs get exercise too! Not only do they give me a good excuse to get outside and exercise, we get to exercise together and I find them amusing. My dogs are so interested in every smell, bug, and lizard. Keep them on track, however. Don’t let them dilly-dally too long. The goal is to tone and burn calories and fat, not linger at every tree. (Side tip: take the dogs with you on PART of your walk. Take them back home and then finish with focus on your own)
*Walking can be done anywhere! You don’t need a gym to walk. Walk while on vacation, after dinner in town, or while on a business trip. Be sure to practice safety common sense, however, and if you don’t know the area, get directions beforehand and ask about the safest routes.
*Soak up the vitamin D. The rays of the sun are good for our health. Vitamin D helps reduce wrinkles, improves bone strength, decreases mental stress and anxiety, reduces dullness and dryness of hair, and reduces muscle spasms. Naturally the “wrinkle” part is a catch-22 because common knowledge is that the sun’s rays can also lead to skin cancer and cause wrinkles. Solution: sunscreen and wear a hat. Actually, for my walks outdoors, I lather up with sunscreen, put on a baseball cap and wear a long sleeve shirt and sunglasses! I even lather my lips with lip balm spf 15.
*Carry two to three pound dumbells. This isn’t possible when I walk with my dogs, but I have cute pink dumbells that are perfect for carrying when I am not with my dogs. Carrying dumbells gives a little extra tone to your arms and you’ll burn a few extra calories too!
*If it’s raining or cold outside, head to the mall! Most malls have a walking program. Some malls even have clubs that give discounts to members. If you go to the mall to walk, definitely invite your friends but please, don’t spoil the calorie burn by inhaling a huge sticky bun when the mall opens. Head elsewhere for a turkey sandwich on whole wheat with fresh fruit. Even better, share it with your friend if it’s an extra large portion.
*Remember to take a bottle of water with you so you don’t get dehyrated! And share with your puppy dogs, too.
Side story: I fell in love with walking on my first trip to Italy in 2001. I found myself eating prosciutto, gelato, bread dipped in olive oil, cinghiale (wild boar), and all sorts of foods that we think of as fattening. However, I lost weight! And, to this day, every time I go to Europe, I lose weight. The key: walking! I walk everywhere… through churches, gardens, museums, all through the cities and towns. Walk, walk, walk. At the end of my trip, my legs appear thinner, and the scale reads lighter. What’s not to love about walking?! I find it more pleasurable than running on a regular basis and I stay bikini! Walking with my friends and my dogs… that’s bonus!