Walking is touted by so many as the best form of exercise. It is great for your heart, your bones, it engages your entire body, almost anybody can do it and it is helpful for everybody, regardless of fitness level.
But it takes a lot of time to fit a significant walk into our busy schedules.
So how can we get all the benefits of walking without having to sacrifice time in our schedules?
Following are two quick and easy hacks you can incorporate into your life today to make walking a huge benefit to you without adding any time to your schedule.
1. The “Drips and Drabs Style”
I couldn’t set aside an hour every night for a walk even if I wanted to. I work a full time job, am married and have other obligations. I can’t just spend an hour every night after work traipsing around the neighborhood. So how do I get the benefits of a long walk into my life without having the time to actually do it?
I do it by break walking down into five minute increments (approximately). During the day at work, I try to get up from my desk once an hour and walk a lap outside that takes about five minutes or so.
This is beneficial for a couple reasons. Number one is it prevents me from being seated for too long a period of time. It is now being said that a sedentary lifestyle is more dangerous than smoking. So, this prevents me from sinking deeper and deeper into my chair, making my legs go numb and my posture go horribly, horribly wrong.
In the course of an eight hour day, at five minutes a piece, I get in about forty minutes of walking and nobody even knows I was gone.
Additionally, I have saved my legs the fatigue that can go with a walk that lasts too long. You know the feeling. Your feet start to hurt, your stride starts to change, maybe you slouch, etc. This way, I get my walking in, stay active, have the energy to focus on my posture and avoid being sedentary for too long.
The best part, though, is I did not have to add a chunk of time to my schedule to accommodate it. I built it right into my existing work schedule. My work day was eight hours before and it’s still eight hours now. I’m just getting much more out of it.
2. Make Walking a Resistance Workout
One exercise that is important to me but always falls by the wayside is calf raises. I didn’t have naturally large calf muscles as a younger man and have had to work for them. But, I realized something. Every little step we take is a tiny little calf raise. If you do it right.
One time while walking I decided to pay special attention to the action my feet took when hitting the ground. I noticed that my heels hit the ground, but the balls of my feet didn’t do very much. My leg would kind of just raise off the ground without any propelling done by the balls of my feet. When barefoot, however, the balls of my feet are much more involved in propelling myself forward.
My theory, based on no scientific evidence whatsoever, is that spending so much time walking in comfortable shoes has altered the way our feet hit the ground and propel us forward. We all walk in pretty comfortable shoes or slippers most of the time. Many females reading this might disagree as their shoes might be might uncomfortable (at least they look that way to me). In that case, the high-heel wearers among us probably don’t have to work on their calves quite as much.
So, when walking now, I pay extra special attention to the action of my feet. I place additional emphasis with every step to use the balls of my feet to lift and propel myself forward, like a little calf raise with every step. It’s a completely natural movement and incorporates a resistance exercise into my walking, which again I’m already doing. The size and fitness of my calves has increased noticeably since employing this tactic.
Two Time Savers In One!
Once again, this is another way to save time. I no longer have to dedicate chunks of time to another resistance exercise to focus on my calves. And I don’t have to dedicate chunks of time to taking walks after work since I have gotten them in naturally in the course of my day. Two time savers in one!
This frees me up for all my other pursuits. Whether they be writing, incorporating some additional strength training exercises I wouldn’t have had time for otherwise, plus having more time to spend with family and friends. Win win, which is my favorite combo!
Hopefully you found this information useful. Here’s to your health!
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