For the first time in three weeks I didn’t have a doctor’s appointment last week. I’m not a big fan of winter or going to the doctor. Since I don’t like either I try and do all of it at the same time. I schedule my annual physical, blood test, skin check, eye exam, and trip to the dentist during the dark days of winter. I certainly don’t want to ruin the good warm weather with all this health stuff.
It appears I’m going to be around for a while longer. All of my key indicators are pointing in the right direction. I like that. It’s also my deepest motivation for fitness. I want to age well. I want health freedom for as long as possible. That’s why I get at least 20,000 steps every single day.
I just finished Week 27 of a 20k One Year Step Challenge. I’ve hit that goal without a single day off for more than six months. I still have a long way to go and the conclusion of another year’s worth of exams have only added to my motivational fuel.
To be clear, I know there are a lot of different factors involved in good health. Family history is huge. I had no say in that. But, I do have a say in lifestyle decisions and I’m trying to make good ones. That includes my on-going fitness journey.
For the past six years I have made intentional, targeted walking my primary fitness activity. Put another way, I use a Fitbit to track my steps. I have daily goals. Right now it’s 20,000. I’ve also had days where the goal is more. And, days where it is less.
Is walking the best fitness activity?
I’ve been a runner. I’ve cycled for fitness. I lift weights and do daily high intensity cardio training. But, if I had could only do one of these for the rest of my life it would be walking. There’s actually no contest.
So, yes, I believe walking is the best fitness activity. Here are five reasons why:
You Can Do it Anywhere
I can walk around Washington DC or I can walk around the island in my kitchen. I can walk through my neighborhood just as easily as I can walk through the hallways at work. I can walk along the beach for miles or I can walk in place in my bedroom.
There is almost no other fitness activity that can be done anywhere at anytime. The world is my gym. The only restriction on walking for fitness is the limit of my imagination.
It’s Fully Integrated
Walking is part of my life. It’s not an “other” activity that I do separate from everything else. I can walk with my wife, Ava, and talk about the day. I can take my young grandchildren for a walk and enjoy their endless wonder about the world around them.
I can go to an Orioles game and walk around the stadium watching the game as I move about. I can answer a colleague’s email in person as I walk from my office to theirs. I can walk as I clean the house, the yard, and the garage.
I can walk while I’m on vacation or at work. I can walk for fun or when I’m feeling burdened by a problem. I can walk while I pray, think, and create. These activities are all a part of my life and now they are also part of my approach to fitness. It’s fully integrated. Fitness is no longer this “other” thing I do. It’s not exercise. Walking is part of my life.
Did you know it only takes 10 minutes of walking to get 1,000 steps? There are lots of opportunities in your life right now to increase your daily step total. I’ll send you 57 Ways to Add 1,000 Steps free.
No Special Skills Needed
I am a fan of learning new skills. I have two close friends who really enjoy yoga. They discuss the different moves and how long it takes to master them. Another friend is a personal trainer. She has often said the belief that “exercise done badly is better than no exercise at all” is a myth. There are many exercise moves that if done wrong can actually be dangerous. You need to develop skills for these to be safe and effective.
Walking is different. Once we graduate from crawling to walking we have acquired the only skill set we need to make this a great fitness activity. You already possess the skills to start moving intentionally towards a daily target.
No Special Equipment Needed
You don’t need anything other than a good pair of shoes. I don’t wear a special walking outfit when I’m out capturing steps. As long as I have comfortable clothes on I’m ready to move.
You also don’t need expensive equipment either. You really don’t even need a Fitbit. You can make a step target based on time, not the number of steps you get. In other words, you can move briskly for 30 to 60 minutes every day without a Fitbit and still enjoy the benefits of walking for fitness.
That said, I can’t imagine not tracking my steps. That’s an important part of keeping me engaged and interested. But, it’s not the Fitbit that gives me fitness…it’s the walking. You really don’t need any special equipment. Don’t let the lack of a step tracker keep you from getting started.
It’s Easily Adjustable
Not all walking is equal. Not all walking has the same fitness benefits. A slow casual walk around the neighborhood is different from a brisk pace up a hill. A short walk to put trash in the garbage can is not the same as a long walk into the wind.
And, that’s the beauty of walking for fitness. You can adjust the length and intensity whenever you want. To keep fitness momentum moving forward you need to. The body adapts to what we do. If we keep doing the same thing every day, fitness can stall. Walking gives us opportunities to change it up a lot of different ways.
Bonus Reason – It Works
It would be silly (and wrong) for me to make a direct connection between my 20,000 steps a day and the good health reports I just received. It’s simply not possible, nor right, to do that.
But, it would be equally as silly for me to say there’s no connection. Health experts implore us to move more and sit less. The CDC says we should be getting at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise every week. They define moderate as brisk walking. In other words…walking intentionally just 30 minutes a day makes a big difference according to people who know stuff.
Plain and simple…walking works. The more we move the greater the potential health benefits. You already have all you need to start moving towards fitness. All you really need is to take advantage of it.
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You really can Win at Fitness! We’ll help you get there One Step at a Time