Hi! Thanks for joining me here for #FitFriday. Let's focus on 3 simple and easy ways to establish a daily fitness routine. When contemplating fitness goals--I remember thinking that the only way to accomplish success was to make it difficult. Then, when doing the research, I was pleasantly surprised by how uncomplicated it can be. In fact, "Success in life is founded upon attention to the small things rather than to the large things; to the every day things nearest to us rather than to the things that are remote and uncommon."-Booker T. Washington
While investigating how to get started--I discovered that one of the most powerful ways to maintain a healthy weight, stay strong, and live longer is shockingly simple...walking every day. The health benefits of walking are endless, and experts agree by adding walking to your daily routine, you can improve your physical and mental health.
The key is to walk--ideally--at least 30 minutes a day, says Melina B. Jampolis, M.D., author of The Doctor on Demand Diet. And whether you decide to lace up your walking shoes and walk to work, pair up with a friend, or join a hiking club, research shows that walking can do everything from lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of chronic diseases to making your brain sharper and your heart happier.
Walking is simple enough that nearly anyone person can do it. "It has tremendous benefits, from supporting a healthy immune system to boosting your metabolism to strengthening your joints, muscles, and bones--not to mention it's amazing for stress relief, says fitness expert, Denise Austin. Here's what else you can expect when you start walking for just a half-hour, most days of the week.
1. Walking will improve your mood. A glass of wine or a square of dark chocolate can blunt the edge of a rough day--but going for a walk is a zero-calorie strategy that offers the same perk, says Dr. Jampolis. In fact, research shows that just 10 minutes of walking can lift your spirits. Other recent research found walking during the COVID-19 pandemic could significantly improve mood. Plus, the effect may be amplified even more if you take a stroll through some greenery. "Research shows that regular walking actually modifies your nervous system so much that you'll experience a decrease in anger and hostility," Dr. Jampolis says, especially when you're going for a stroll through nature or soaking in a bit of sunlight. This can be particularly helpful during the colder months, when seasonal depression strikes. Finally, when you make your walks social--you stride with, say, your partner, that interaction helps you feel connected, which can make you feel happier.
2. It will help you burn calories and maintain a healthy weight. "As you continue to walk, you may notice your pants begin to fit more loosely around your midsection, even if the number on the scale isn't moving much," says Dr. Jampolis. That's because regular walking can help reduce belly fat and, as a result, improve your body's response to insulin, according to research. Itching to up your calorie burn? When walking outside, plan a route that includes hills, alternate between speed walking and a slower pace, and challenge yourself to walk the same routes on different days to see if you can beat your previous times, says Austin. For an extra boost of motivation, she also recommends aiming to hit 10,000 steps a day. "Daily walking increases metabolism by burning extra calories and by preventing muscle loss, which is particularly important as we get older," says Ariel Iasevoli, a personal trainer in New York City. And you don't have to hit the gym to see these results. "One of my clients reduced her body fat by 2% in just one month by walking home from work each day, which was just under a mile," she says.
According to Michele Stanten, a walking coach and author of Preventions Walk Your Way to Better Health, intervals are key. Increasing your speed for small bouts of time during, say a 30 minute walk allows you to burn more calories than if you strolled at a moderate pace for half an hour. It also benefits your cardiorespiratory system. To try adding intervals, warm up for three minutes. Then spend 25 minutes alternating between one minute of walking almost as fast as you can go and one minute of brisk walking. Then, cool down for two minutes.
3. When you become a regular walker, you will have established a regular routine--and when you have a routine, you are more likely to continue with the activity and take on new healthy behaviors. "Our bodies are not meant to be sedentary all day. Any type of movement is better than no movement, and being able to find a type of movement best suited for your age and fitness level is super important so you feel empowered and motivated to stick with it," says Marisa Golan, a certified personal trainer, Base Ops Fitness Coach and owner of e(M)powered personal training.
Walking is a great gateway exercise to get your muscles moving and your heart elevated. You can also speed it up to more of a speed walk to increase your heart rate. Plus, walking can help you believe in yourself and your health goals. Recent research found of nearly 5,000 adults interviewed, those who walked regularly had higher health perceptions and were more likely to have better mental health.
One of our core values at Shaffer Realty is ensuring our agents prioritize their physical, mental, and emotional health. We recognize that no one can pour from an empty cup, which is why we encourage our team to make sure they’re balancing their work and personal life in a way that works best for them. That’s one of the many reasons why being a real estate agent holds so much worth.
See you here next Friday for more tips and tricks for #FitFriday. See you soon! Warmly, Susan