Walking is an easy, low-impact way to help you lose weight and stay healthy. Moreover, partaking in regular cardio (walking included) can help boost mood levels. Add a small incline, and it has been shown to reduce the risk of injury to lower extremity joints and be an effective weight-management strategy for obese individuals.
But sometimes, it doesn’t feel that simple. We’ve all been there and made an excuse or two when we didn’t want to put in the work. Here, we dispel five barriers to walking that don’t hold up.
We have to walk to get around and incorporating a little more walking to amp up your activity levels is feasible, as long as you include it in your schedule. According to a Pennsylvania State University study, a lack of time is the most common excuse for not incorporating active travel into daily life. However, researchers found we often overestimate how much time it takes us to walk places, meaning you really could walk to meet a friend rather than driving the next time. What’s more, the study found that when you start making time for a more active commute, you’re more likely to keep with it.
Not only is working out with friends a great opportunity to catch up on everything from reality TV to what’s going on at the office, but it can also actually make you exercise more often, according to one University of Aberdeen study. Look for a walking group in your area, and if there’s not one, start your own. If you have some meetings at work that can be taken on foot, schedule walking meetings.
Whether you’re walking down a beautiful trail or simply moving from uptown to downtown, it’s great to embrace your surroundings mid-stride. However, listening to your favorite playlist has its benefits, too. According to one University Health Network study, turning up the jams while you work out can also help you stick to your exercise routine.
While treadmills have their advantages (a temperature-controlled environment and the ability to change the incline), a walk is the perfect time to get outdoors. In fact, those who train in the open air actually enjoy it more, according to research by Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry.
Given life’s hectic pace, it’s easy to tell yourself you’re too tired to exercise. But instead of reaching for a cup of coffee, walking can actually give you the boost you need to stave off sleepiness and get focused. Walking for 10 minutes is more energizing than 50mg of caffeine, according to research published in the Journal of Psychology and Behavior.