Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.
– Steven Wright
I love walking. As Steve above me says, everywhere is walking distance if you have the time. And I’d like to add to that, that you can see the world in just a short walk around your own neighborhood. I often have my best ideas and thoughts when I go out for a walk.
So the answer to the question posed in my blog post is that walking is the only exercise you need for overall health and long term weight loss success. Let me explain. There are various reasons that I suggest that walking for weight loss and exercise is beneficial.
Some of you might even be thinking, “really, is walking exercise?”. And it is, but in this culture of ours where busyness bosses around productivity we’re inclined to think that any exercise to be beneficial has to be vigorous, busy and hard. That just isn’t true.
We seem to think that exercising without sweating is not really exercising at all. But I urge you to go out walking for an hour a day 5 days a week. Do this religiously for 30 days and tell me that you aren’t in better shape in your daily life. In fact, a 1 hour walk for a 150 pound person at a reasonably modest pace of 3 mph will burn over 200 calories.
Well that’s not many calories for an hour of exercise, and you’re right it isn’t. In fact that same hour spent running at 6 mph for the same 150 pound person will burn over 600 calories or a threefold increase. So how I can say that walking is a terrific exercise for weight loss?
Here’s how. Everyone with legs and without other obvious disabilities can walk. Not everyone can run. More than that, not everyone wants to run either. Running is a great exercise. But if you were to ask me about the kingdom of exercise I’d say that walking was the king and running the queen. Walking is just a much easier exercise for practically anyone to do and to stick with.
How many folks do you know who started a running program only to drop out of it 3, 6 or more months down the road? Quite a few I’m sure.
But we all walk and we all walk everyday. Even if it’s only from our car to the office, we’re still walking. Walking doesn’t require any new clothes or shoes or exercise equipment. You can do it in practically any kind of weather and practically anywhere that you happen to live. If you want to feel a little more secure when you are walking then use walking sticks for exercise. Many of these are quite robust and will perhaps dissuade dogs from running after you.
But for my money, the best exercise to lose weight is walking. It also has tremendous overall benefits. Walking helps to reduce your chances of getting diabetes, cancer, heart disease, anxiety and depression amongst other things.
The average speed of most walkers is around 3.1 mph, and that’s a speed that you can get used to sustaining for hours at a time.
Also, walking for an hour a day is also an hour you aren’t spending in front of the computer the TV or in the kitchen snacking. It’s an hour you aren’t eating or being bombarded by commercials and ads that tell you you aren’t good enough, smart enough, thin enough or famous enough unless you have x y or z’s product.
Go out walking for a bit and see how much happier you feel almost instantaneously. Walking massages the soul and greases the cogs of the brain. You’ll start to feel the fog of indecision and uncertainty clear. Many of the best ideas from the greatest humans have been germinated in the exercise of walking. From Einstein and others we must come back round to appreciate the riches that walking offers the mind, the body and the soul.
The health benefits of walking daily cannot be understated. Will you join me friends for a walk in the path, the hills and dales? Let us return to a simple bipedal life of walking more. Let us think deeply and simply about the true abundance of a rich life and suck the very marrow from it. Walking and talking you and I. The rhythm of 4 legs and the distant drum beat of 2 hearts. Let us walk to the morrow and find we’ve worked through our sorrow and found the best exercise for health, weight loss, longevity, serenity and equanimity of spirit.