When you are trying to improve your fitness levels, it can be easy to big and focus on high-intensity activities only. Yet this is not the only route to a healthier lifestyle. Less intensive forms of fitness can still help you to achieve your goals if done regularly enough. Walking is therefore a great option for anybody looking to improve their overall fitness levels, as it is so easy to incorporate into your everyday life.
Every step helps!
Whilst more intensive forms of exercise will allow you to burn calories more quickly, the calories burned when walking certainly are not irrelevant. Indeed, a brisk walk will help you to burn calories four times quicker (or even more!) than sitting watching TV, on a bus or train or in the passenger seat of a car. These periods of walking could be anything from something big like a hike to simply taking the stairs rather than the lift. Any way in which you can incorporate extra walking into your daily activities will help ensure that you are well on the way to achieving your daily target for number of calories burned.
Accessible for all
Few sports can match walking in terms of accessibility. Not only is it something that can be enjoyed at any time in any place for free, it is also an activity which is suitable for a wide range of fitness levels. If you are looking to get fit from a low fitness base, going straight to high intensity sports can increase the risk of injury, whilst you may also feel tired extremely quickly. The lower intensity of walking therefore offers a gentler way to increase your activity levels and gradually improve your fitness.
Walking as a leisure activity
There are two main ways in which you can increase the amount of walking you are doing everyday. You can walk as a leisure activity, or you can incorporate walking into other aspects of your life such as commuting.
Hiking is one of the most popular forms of walking as a leisure activity. Hiking offers a number of benefits over other forms of walking. Walking uphill or having to climb over rocks and other obstacles will be more intensive than walking on flat ground, further increasing your heart rate and helping you to burn more calories. Walking over rough and unstable ground, even when wearing hiking boots, will require your legs to work harder to keep balance, which when combined with the climbing will help to increase the strength of your leg muscles too.
Then there is the motivational side of hiking. Finding the motivation to work hard when you are tired is a challenge in any sport. However, when hiking you will have the additional motivation of getting to the next view (or maybe to the final pub!) to help you to keep going and then enjoy the rewards when you get there.
I don’t get the opportunity to go hiking as often as I’d like, but thankfully I can still get lots of walking into my day by walking to work and back five days per week. Choosing walking as your form of commuting might not burn as many calories as cycling, but on the plus side I don’t need to take a shower when I arrive, and I’m still burning much more calories than I would driving or sitting on public transport.
The other great benefit of choosing walking as your form of commuting is that it is the most reliable mode of transport. You are far less dependent on others, whether that is in terms of traffic levels or public transport services being on time. By far the most important factors in determining how long your commute will take are the length of your route and how quickly you walk, both of which are very much under your control. This means you can predict how long your commute will take very accurately, so there are no excuses for being late.
Walking the full commute might not be practical for everyone, but there are always ways in which you can increase the amount of walking you do as part of your commute, whether this is getting off the bus a few stops earlier, walking to the train station instead of driving or parking further away from work.
Walking is a great way form of exercise which is accessible to everyone and is easy to incorporate into your daily routine, and something that will help you to burn calories and improve your fitness levels too.
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