Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Walking Away the Weight

Walking has long been a favorite exercise of mine. It likely all started back when I was a kid. When some new neighbors moved in across the street, my mom and her started to walk in the evenings. I considered myself lucky when I was able to join. My parents have also always (since when, not sure, I was a child - I just remember going to a number and know that they still go today) participated in Volksmarch Walks and 5/10K walks.

The nice thing about walking is you don't need any special gear, equipment or training. A pedometer can help you track your steps all day. Apps for your phone like RunKeeper, can help you track a walk. But, even without those tools, you can still be successful at walking.

I also have found that for me, walking is a great way to help me with my weight loss goals. It burns calories, strengthens and tones muscles and can even thin the waistline when you keep your arms involved. Frequently, walking is that extra boost for me...the addition to my "regular" workout. Sometimes though, it is my workout (and there's nothing wrong with that).

At the very least, even without consideration of the weight loss benefits, a walk is a time for me to unwind and destress - another boost to my overall well-being. Sometimes, when I walk, I just relax and take in the scenery, but frequently while I am walking, my mind is running. I use the alone time to work through things in my head, practice presentations or discussions that I need to have, make mental lists (which sometimes I forget when I have paper to write them down) and such - there is no "organization" to this process, I often find myself jumping from subject to subject. It may not sound like it, but this is very therapeutic and relaxing. I feel so much more refreshed and ready for the rest of the day/week after I have had this chance to allow my mind to work through things that it needs to.

When it is nice out, I love to head outside for a walk. Whether that is before work, at lunch time or in the evening - the time of day doesn't matter. Last summer I would meet a neighbor to walk in the mornings. We started in the neighborhood, but eventually started heading to the track to walk - which was when my walks turned into walk/runs, but that is another story. There are a few people that I walk with routinely at lunchtime. We will either walk around town or on the walking track. It is not only a great way to get in a workout, but it is a great time to catch up. As we gab, the miles pass by in no time. I also find it to be a great mid-day mental break that refreshes me for the day ahead. In the evenings, I will walk around the block with the kids, walk up to my son's baseball games or have the option of heading to the indoor track to do some walking.

Unfortunately, mother nature doesn't always cooperate with my desire to walk outside. I mentioned that we have an indoor track at one of the schools in town, so that is at least one option - but that is very schedule driven as it is only open for a few hours each evening. So, another alternative that I have found is the Walk At Home series of DVDs from Leslie Sansone. I am not sure how many titles there are, I must have 6 or 8 discs (3 are from a set) and constantly see different titles at the store and library. In fact, borrowing the discs from the library is a great way to regularly change up your walk and prevent boredom.

A great thing about the workouts is that they are all broken down into mile segments. I have discs that are 2 mile, 3 mile, 4 mile and 5 mile walks. But, even within them, I can walk just 2 miles of the 5 mile walk easily. I love this flexibility. With the varying walks, there are also varying paces, so if I have only 25 minutes, I could choose a 2 mile walk on a faster pace. If I have more time, perhaps I do a slower pace walk and choose one with more resistance band exercises to increase toning while walking. In my experience, I have found walks on the discs that range from 12 minutes to 17 minutes per mile.

Another thing that I really like is that just like walking outside, I can allow my mind to do it's own thing while I do the workout. Unlike my other workout DVDs, where I am so focused on the form and movement or the routine and sequence, with the Walk At Home disc, even though there are several steps used and even some arm movements worked in, I am able to follow it "absentmindedly" allowing my mind to be free to wander and process.

Walking - outside or At Home - works for me.


Johnlyn said...

I love love love walking! It's such a stress relief. We have a creek that I love to walk along.

This winter has been awesome as far as weather. Today is supposed to be 60 degrees! Unlike -20 below with the wind chill a few winnters ago.

Have you heard of the paleo or primal diet? That's how I lost weight - walking doesn't really do much for weight loss for me, but the change of lifestyle certainly did!

Thanks for sharing your post.

'Becca said...

I love walking! We purposely chose our home in a location where we can walk TO many places; being able to exercise and get somewhere at the same time saves time and also saves money on gas. We walk our son to and from school in all weather.

I really relate to what you said about the way you think while walking. I find I cannot think that way while driving or while doing other exercises.

Ronalee said...

Great post !!
I love walking. Last year I joined a group of bloggers who made a goal to walk 400 miles for the year. I ended up walking 1452 miles ! this year I have a goal to walk 1800 miles, even though my guy doesn't want me to set a goal that high. According to him, the goal is 600 and can be altered later.
Last week I found this great site that I joined. You can log your walks..runs..or other workouts. You motivate and get motivated by others. I am loving it. Here is the link if you are interested.

thanks for taking the time on your blog.

Anonymous said...

To know how to lose fat on lower stomach is first to know the limits of abdominal exercise. Burning stored fat should be the priority, and the most effective way is actually a combination of a good diet and cardiovascular workouts, like swimming, jogging, brisk walking, and even rowing.