If you’ve been following this blog long (or know me in real life), you know I have an expression that I stole from my trainer: “Walking for Weight Loss is Worthless.” You can read my whole post about that Here.
But even though it doesn’t give you everything you need for weight loss, including muscle building and intensity, I love walking. I do think it can be part of a healthy weight loss program because it provides so many benefits that are greater than the calories it burns. Note: if your Knee, hip, and ankle joints aren’t healthy, walking may not be the best choice for you! Walking can exacerbate these joint problems.
Walking is a great way to clear your head— which has a fantastic way of making your problems feel manageable. Getting out of your normal four walls helps you remember that the world is so much larger than whatever is on your mind.
Try walking just to see what’s around you. I’m a photographer, so I watch for how the light hits a little flower, or a mountain, or a barn. I watch to see what’s new with the neighboring horses, cows, and donkey. I like to see where my feet can take me, and even though I may take the same route as I have before, there is always something new to see. I make it a game to see what’s changed. If you’re on Instagram, one of my favorite hashtags is #noticebeauty. Post some of your favorite pictures and use the hashtag. (Bonus points: follow that hashtag— and you can see what beauty other people have noticed!)
Take your four legged bestie for a walk (preferably of the canine variety. Cats don’t seem to appreciate this nearly as much as I think they should!) My dog is grace in motion when she runs, but she doesn’t mind a walk with me either. Sometimes I just let her set the pace for the walk. If she wants to smell everything, that’s ok. I see what I can see in the mean time. If she wants to walk fast, and I’m feeling great, I’ll get in that grove. But no matter where we go, when she wags her tail and smiles (yes, smiles) it makes my whole world better.
Walk for the privilege of breathing fresh air. Ok, ok— for some people this is maybe not a win. I am lucky enough to live in the mountains where the air is nice and fresh. Sometimes it feels like an extraordinary luxury to step outside for a few minutes, and just remember to breathe. It’s staying awfully… um… brisk… these days, but most of the time a short walk is doable– and leaves me feeling energized and refreshed.
Walk for the opportunity to have a few minutes to yourself. Often when I walk, I turn the notifications off on my phone. I may or may not listen to music, but I regard that time as “Me time.” (Sometimes there’s almost a meditative quality to just listening to my feet on the pavement.) I’m unavailable. Whatever is is can wait 30-60 minutes while I’m recharging my batteries.
Walk for the opportunity to really be with your people. I know a lot of couples who make walking together part of their routine, and I love it. The couples look forward to this time, because it gives them a chance to catch up without being distracted. So many people eat dinner by the Tv or out in a noisy restaurant that their true talk time is limited. But walking seems to foster communication. It’s almost a sacred space where people are more likely to say what’s really on their mind– and the other person often has an easier time listening.
Walking isn’t everything you need to take care of your body, but it has so many wonderful benefits! Treat it like a special treat or a great luxury, and it will begin to feel that way. You’ll start to look forward to that time of caring for your Spirit.