Sweat & Smiles: Walking Benefits and a Few Cautions

By Melissa Romano on August 18, 2018 from Sweat & Smiles via Connect-Bridgeport.com

There is plenty of research confirming walking’s weight loss benefits. Improved mood, boost in creativity, weight loss, disease prevention, and stamina are all side effects of regular walks. While you should never underestimate the power of a good walk, you shouldn’t depend on it as our only form of exercise … even when you’re just starting out. 
 
A common goal I hear from those looking to begin their fitness journey is walking daily (or a variation of treadmill or elliptical). You’ll rarely hear me discriminate on anything that gets the body moving but truth be told daily walking (or elliptical-ing) isn’t going to take you where you want to go, at least figuratively. Those who choose to go the route of depending on walking for their daily exercise usually choose the same literal route. It takes the body two to three months to adapt so if you aren’t switching up your terrain and your pace, you’ll struggle to see results. 
 
Poor posture and a weak core are a recipe for disaster. Strong abs are not about vanity. Your core is the foundation of your strength and largely your health. Walking regularly with a weak core won’t strengthen your abs and it will even hinder your walks. A weak midsection results in poor posture, bad pain, and rounded shoulders. Poor posture also compresses the lungs making it even more difficult to increase your speed and even strain important walking muscles like your hip flexors and hamstrings. 
 
Long walks are not time efficient. While walking or running with Cannon in a stroller I’d always laugh and say he makes it plateau proof. A plateau is that insanely frustrating place that you hit on your fitness journey where you stop seeing results if you are not switching it up and playing smart. If you’re using walking as your only form of exercise then you’ll need to keep increasing your time and speed to avoid hitting a plateau this can become extremely time consuming. 
 
True fitness and overall wellness will always require a well rounded plan. Balancing strength training and cardio are only two pieces of the puzzle. Things like rest, mental health, and spiritual health will also affect your overall wellness. Going for a walk, especially in nature, can aid in all of the pieces of that puzzle.
 
The trick is alternating days of walking with days of strength training or weight lifting and rest days. Even if other exercise seems intimidating and walking seems easier you’ll find that practicing things like push ups, squats, and planks not only produces better results but makes walking easier. If you’re just getting started on your fitness journey go for a walk, don’t underestimate it but don’t depend on it. 
 
 
Sweat & Smiles,
Melissa
 
EDITOR'S NOTE: Melissa Romano is the creator of You First Fitness a revolutionary style of personal training program designed to make you the expert on your life and body. She is also the co-creator of Balanced You Wellness Retreats. After graduating from West Virginia Wesleyan College she completed 200+ hours to obtain her Professional Certificate of Personal Fitness Training from Pierpont Community College.  Since 2009 she has worked full-time as a personal trainer, group fitness instructor and wellness coach. She believes in functional fitness, healthy lifestyle changes and a holistic approach to a better, happier, healthier life. In 2015 she welcomed her greatest joy and fiercest life lesson into the world, Cannon Cobb. The two of them can usually be found outside or at one of the local parks. Visit Melissa's Web site at  https://youfirst.fitness/ or email her at melissa@youfirst.fitness.


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