The Power of Walking

A health coach’s guide to walking to your best body.


Written by Morgan Allen, Health Coach

 

Model: Hannah Glasby with Wilhelmina | Photographer: Jacqueline Pilar

The most challenging part of a workout routine is sustainability, as consistency is key to achieve results that don’t just last for the summer months.The healthiest people in the world are those who are the most active, and it has been proven that making movement a part of your daily routine is the best way to stay fit and healthy.

While hard, intense workouts are great when you're in the mood for a challenge or feeling energized, killing yourself everyday at the gym or in a Barry’s class isn’t the only way to burn fat, and definitely isn’t the most sustainable way. High intensity forms of cardio, such as Barry’s, running, or HIIT workouts, also raise cortisol levels and can increase stress in the body, leading to retention of water weight, puffiness, and bulkiness that we try to avoid. To keep cortisol levels low, getting in some light movement or activity daily is optimal, and in the long run, a little bit of movement every day is more beneficial and sustainable than trying to maintain a high intensity workout routine. One of the best light movement workouts you can do also targets and burns fat, leans out muscle, and can get you into great shape, plus it can be done anywhere and at any time, completely for free. What is this amazing workout?

Walking.

As a form of low intensity steady-state cardio (LISS), walking is kind on your joints, yet still productively burns calories, promotes fat loss, and slims out the entire body. Paired with resistance training and a healthy diet, walking is one of the most sustainable forms of movement for maintaining a healthy physique. By committing to moving your body daily, you are sculpting and toning over time, helping to boost your metabolism and increase your vitality and energy simultaneously.

The goal is to aim for 10k steps per day for best results, but don’t worry, those steps can be done in intervals throughout the day. Getting your steps in could mean going for a two hour walk outside or on a treadmill, but it could also mean breaking it up into 30 minute walks in the morning, on your lunch break, and in the evening. When you do LISS cardio for an extended period of time, your body first will burn stored carbs, and then it will begin to burn fat. So the more steps you can fit into your day, the more fat you can burn daily.

Even on the days you don’t feel like working out or don’t have the time, a walk is the perfect way to maintain an active lifestyle, with minimal exertion. If you can’t get your full 10k steps in every day, even a 20 minute walk outside can do wonders to clear your mind, relieve stress, or give you a boost of energy during the midday slump. Going outside daily can also improve your sleep schedule, as the exposure to sunlight can help balance out your circadian rhythm.

In general, introducing some sort of resistance training into your weekly workout routine will give you the best results, whether that's yoga, pilates, barre classes, or even an extra long walk on some days. All bodies are different, and listening to your body when creating your workout schedule is so important in order to achieve the best results, as a recipe for someone’s perfect body may not be the same as somebody else’s.

Have a busy schedule and feel like you don’t have time to fit 10k steps in daily? Try adding walking into your already set routine–getting your 10k steps in can be done while multitasking, whether that means walking while returning emails, holding a conference call, parking further from the entrance of your job or shopping destination, listening to a podcast, or while watching your favorite TV show.

The power of walking lies in its ability to change your body effortlessly by adapting to an active lifestyle. Finding a sustainable exercise routine that you can follow every day is the key to unlocking your best body. Once you begin walking daily, it will become something you can’t go a day without, for movement feels good, and soon you’ll find yourself craving that post-walk high.



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