The Forgotten Benefit of Walking for Fitness

I recently rediscovered one of the great benefits of walking. Last November I wrote about The 9 Ways a Step Goal Can Change Your Life, but totally forgot about this one.

The nine I wrote about are true game changers. Like fitness.

The CDC recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate activity. That works out to about 22 minutes a day (less than 3000 steps) of brisk walking. That’s doable for most people. Once you establish a daily habit of intentional walking you can gradually increase your goal. Over time you build momentum and fitness becomes integrated with your lifestyle. It’s a big way a daily step goal can change your life.

My target is 20,000 steps every day. I’m doing that for a full year with no breaks. I started on September 1 and you can check out a daily update HERE.

Having a step goal is also a great motivator to multi-task. I plan and solve problems better when I’m moving. Walking gives me time to listen to podcasts and learn new stuff. I often feel pretty stinking efficient when I’m walking. 

That daily step goal has also been a great motivator to walk with my wife, Ava. We connect in ways that are even deeper when we are walking together. It’s been a wonderful way to keep our relationship strong.

And, walking also helps me to deal with stress. When I wrote about the 9 Ways a Step Goal Can Change Your Life, Ava, was early in her battle with breast cancer and I was feeling that. I took lots of long walks to fight back the anxiety. That step goal forced me to move when I might have wanted to escape in front of a screen.

Each of these are benefits I enjoy because having a step goal forces me to move. But, I forgot one, and it’s a BIG one.

When I was 15 years old my family enjoyed a two week vacation in Cape May, NJ. That’s a victorian beach resort. We actually went there every summer for most of my adolescence. But, this particular vacation gave me one of my favorite summer memories.

Every afternoon, during those two weeks, I walked along the beach from our hotel to the Cape May lighthouse almost two miles away. This was before smart phones, iPods, or even The Walkman. It was a long walk with no distractions. That was when I discovered a benefit that I’d forgotten about until recently.

Walking creates margin. Margin creates rest.

Ironic, isn’t it. Walking for fitness provides rest. But, there’s more…

Recently I’ve been taking long walks without an agenda. I can’t remember how or why I started doing that again. The first step was leaving my phone at home. I was so used to pulling it out and checking email or social media…yeah, while I was walking. 

No phone also meant no podcasts. I was learning it was OK to not have multiple objectives with every walk. I didn’t have to learn something new or figure out the answer to a pressing challenge every time I went for a long walk. I could walk simply for the pleasure of walking. It really was restful, but there’s more…

During those daily afternoon walks in Cape May when I was a teenager I had a lot of time to think. There were no distractions. And, a lot of that thinking was about my future. That was right around the time I had decided I wanted to be a morning DJ. There were many hours on those no-agenda walks along the beach to dream about being a DJ and what I could do to make that dream a reality.

During that summer, walking created margin from the world for me…margin created rest for my soul…and, that soulful rest created space to dream.

I did become a morning DJ…and I’m still living the dream.

If you go back and read that article about The 9 Ways a Step Goal Can Change Your Life you can add in number 10. 

If you struggle with motivation to stick with fitness this blog will help. Don’t be intimated by the title. That’s my goal…not yours. But, my bigger goal is to help you start a fitness journey that has doesn’t stop and builds momentum. If you click FOLLOW (below on your phone and to the right and above on your computer) you’ll get an email with a link to each motivating article the moment it’s published.

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