Take a Daily, Twenty-Minute Walk Part 2 of a 5 part series
Part 2 of a 5 part series from Five Changes to Lose 40 Pounds and Keep It Off
You may be asking yourself, “How can a daily, twenty-minute walk outside actually make a difference in my life?” The fact of the matter is that any change you make in your life that you are able to sustain on a regular basis over the long term will add up incrementally to create significant and drastic changes in your health and in the way that you feel. This holds true for positive changes in our lives and for the not so positive changes in our lives. For example, the effects of sitting too much, over many years, can have significant health risks. In the same way, walking as little as 20 minutes each day can have a significantly positive impact on your health.
The key here is daily! Why am I not encouraging you to go to the gym? To a yoga studio? To find the top CrossFit training center in your area? Because all of these options allow for so many excuses NOT to do your daily exercise, not to get out and move, not to get out and connect with nature. If you can put on your shoes and walk out your front door and make that a habit, then you eliminate nearly every excuse that you can come up with when you have to get in the car, drive to the gym, change your clothes, shower afterwards, what a pain in the ass. Nobody got time for that!
Don’t get me wrong! At this point in my life, I am a dedicated Yogi, traveling to a yoga studio that I love on a regular basis. I thoroughly enjoy investing this time in my health. However, when I first started making changes in my life, I did not have the determination or willpower to maintain a schedule or do the things required for an exercise program outside of the home. This five part series is all about self-supporting lifestyle changes. These changes needed to be simple to accomplish yet tremendously beneficial and self-sustaining in the long term. A daily, twenty-minute walk fits this requirement.
Can you walk on the treadmill? Absolutely! If you happen to have one at your house. However, walking outside is especially helpful to your health. Connecting with nature while exercising is good for both your physical and mental health. You are able to view the world in motion, appreciate the sunset or sunrise, and watch the birds and animals in their natural state. Walking outside also avoids the mundane. Even if you walk in your own neighborhood, you will find many different routes to explore. Discovering new routes will solidify your routine as a part of your life. Mix it up!
Did you know that walking can provide the same health benefits as running without the impact? It is true! Walking can improve cardiovascular health, improve mood, maintain a healthy weight, improve balance and coordination, helps prevent or manage heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and other conditions, and strengthens your muscles and bones. One technique I use when I will not have a full twenty minutes to go for a walk is to walk around my office building a couple of times every time I need to take a bathroom break. Over the day, this adds up to MORE than twenty minutes. If the weather permits, you can go OUTSIDE and explore a route around the building or parking lot (stay safe!).
What do you mean you can’t stand walking? Okay okay, I get it, walking might not be for everyone. The point here is to find something that you can do in your home or right around your home that eliminates any excuse that you can come up with not to get active in your life. Getting active is one of my key tenets of mindful, healthy living. Getting active is not optional! Perhaps you find a DVD yoga routine that you truly enjoy, or even better, find one on YouTube that you can do every day right on your laptop/TV app. If not yoga on YouTube, maybe it is Tai Chi, or a CrossFit routine that does not require anything other than the video and your body. The point here is to be moving every day.
So what next? Challenge yourself to a daily, twenty-minute walk each day for the next five days and see how you feel. Sit down and write down the reasons you want to make changes in your life to become a more mindful, healthful and spiritual person. When you think you have your list of why, ask yourself why two more times. The first thing that comes to mind is not usually the true reason you crave change in your life.