I’ve been wanting to post this for a few weeks now, but every time I sit down, I decide to take the walk instead of writing about it! I guess you could say I’m practicing what I’m about to preach. Having already taken my early morning walk today, I’ll now tell you why you need to be out there walking too!
Walking is one form of exercise that most people are able to engage in, barring injury or other physical limitations. You don’t need to be athletic or even particularly fit to take a walk. If you never go for walks, start with a short, 10-minute walk around the block or office complex at lunchtime. This is one of the most rejuvenating activities you can do during a workday. You may be one of those workers who eats lunch at your desk, and with the ease of sending e-mail or instant messages, you may barely move from your chair during the day. It’s little wonder that by mid-afternoon you are reaching for another cup of caffeine or some chocolate! Instead of the caffeine or candy, get out of your chair, take a quick walk outside, then before you sit down, drink a glass of water.
Walking is an under-rated form of exercise and fitness. Unlike running, walking is low impact but invigorating for the muscles. It can help lower cholesterol, blood pressure, even your weight! While the ideal may be 30 minutes of walking five times per week, your schedule may only allow for a long walk once or twice per week. That’s fine, esp. if you remember to take the stairs when you can, park just a little farther from the entrance, and walk outside your office during the day.
Here are some tips for making walking a pleasurable experience:
1) Vary your route. Try a different street or path each time. If variety is not available, then mix it up a little. You’ll find that if you are used to walking up your street one way, try walking the other direction. You’ll see it from a brand new perspective.
2) Take a camera along. Yes, you’ll stop every so often, but it will help you see the beauty around you when you look through the lens of a camera.
3) Choose a destination. An easy and wonderful destination here in San Francisco is the Ferry Building. Wherever you are, find a place you like, and walk there.
4) Walk with friends. Time passes quickly when you’re sharing your walk with a friend.
5) Invest in a decent pair of shoes. You don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on a fancy pair of running or walking shoes, but do make sure your shoes have proper support.
While walking is not a substitute for more vigorous exercise such as weight lifting and cardiovascular workouts, adding walks to your weekly routine will get your Qi flowing and may even lift your mood.
To your health!