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Oct 7, 2021

Walk It Out!

“I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can only rest for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not ended.” – Nelson Mandela

Walking is an accessible form of exercise for most people. It’s virtually a no-cost exercise, too! Just put one foot in front of the other and go! It doesn’t matter how far you go or how fast. The leisurely walker can reap some of the same health benefits as the power walker.

Whether walking around your local neighborhood, the track, or the mall, walking can be a fun, stress-relieving form of exercise. You don’t have to speed walk or power walk to experience the health benefits of walking. A 10-minute stroll at a leisurely pace can soothe anxiety and improve your mood. While a short walk is better than no walk at all, the longer you walk, the more benefits you see.

To ensure an efficient and effective cardio workout, you want to get your heart rate up. Most of us wear some type of activity watch to monitor our heart rate. But, if you don’t have a smartwatch or are not walking on a treadmill with a heart rate monitor, you want to make sure you can still talk while walking. For example, you should be able to carry on a conversation but not sing.

Walking is essential for runners, both beginners, and elite runners. Walking uses the same muscles as running, just without the impact. Walking is an excellent way to warm up before a run and a good way to cool down after.

One of the most significant benefits of walking for runners is building endurance. On my non-run days, I like to walk or hike, and I always make sure my walk includes a couple of steep inclines. Walking allows me to strengthen my legs and feet and practice my breathing, which can sometimes be challenging during my runs.

A run-walk method, like the one I used in the Couch to 5K training plan and others like it, can help boost speed and recovery times and help prevent injury.

In a Runner’s World magazine article, Pieter Langerhorst, husband and coach of four-time world champion Lornah Kiplagat, says nearly all Kenyan athletes walk after their training to go grocery shopping or to get to the gym. “Athletes do only three things: eat, sleep and train. The best way for them to recover is walking because there is no impact,” he says. “Sitting in a car is not great for the muscles and the low back.”

Remember, it doesn’t matter whether you walk or run; just get it done! See you out on the pavement!

By: Danielle Barnes – @dannibsays (IG) @dannib413 (Twitter)

Danielle Barnes is a freelance writer based in Montclair, NJ. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Relations from Wayne State University. Her superpower is her ability to captivate audiences with her words whether it’s in person or on paper. Danielle enjoys devouring a good book, volunteering for causes she’s passionate about, staying active, and traveling the globe to see the world in all its glory.