Confession: I hate “working out.” There is something so grim and punishing about the whole concept. You’re paying money for a gym membership and expensive workout clothes and spending your precious time running in place or repeatedly lifting weights in front of a giant mirror. There’s people everywhere and you never make eye contact with them and it’s just so AWKWARD. That being said, I do like to be active, especially outdoors. I LOVE walking and I try to walk as much as possible. Getting some fresh air and sunshine really clears my head. Plus, walking keeps me from puffing up like a little blowfish.
Benefits of walking:
1) It burns calories. In my own non-scientific opinion, walking freaks out your body less than more hardcore forms of exercise. When your body isn’t freaked out, it doesn’t produce stress hormones that can lead to weight gain.
2) It’s good for your brain. According to an article on www.flexxlabs.co, walking reduces stress and can even be a form of meditation. Walking is also known to boost creativity!
3) It’s free! Just put on your shoes and go outside.
So it’s awesome, right? And since I’m like basically a professional walker at this point, here are my best tips!
Define your time: Given that I work full time, my daily walks usually occur during my lunch break. Every day after I eat my lunch, I like to hit the walking path near the office. I’ve figured out a route that takes exactly 35 minutes, perfect for a lunch break. During the part of the year where it’s light later in the day, I love to walk around my neighborhood at home after work or after dinner.
Define your limits: I personally won’t walk if it’s precipitating or below 30 degrees. When you have rules like that, you’re less likely to check the forecast and make up excuses like “It’s too cold!”. You said you would go in 30 degrees, so put on a coat and scarf and hop to it!
Dress appropriately: I am lucky enough to work in an office with a casual dress code, so I usually just wear my work clothes with sneakers that I keep in my desk drawer. I always wear sneakers even if my shoes are comfortable, because walking for 40 minutes every day in your regular shoes will DESTROY them. I also always dress in layers. I keep a hoodie at my desk to wear if it’s a bit chilly. If I get too warm, I can always tie it around my waist.
Pick up the pace: I like to walk at a brisk stroll so I feel that my heart rate is slightly elevated and I’m not just meandering around town. This gets my blood pumping and gives me some energy.
Grab a buddy: I love to go walking with my friends. It gives us a chance to talk and catch up, while not eating or spending money! It’s a win-win situation.
Call your mom: I like to make the most of my time, so I often use my walking time to call my family or listen to educational podcasts. If you can have iPhone, the earbuds that come with the phone actually have a little microphone on them, so you can chat while keeping your phone in your pocket. So clutch, because my arm gets tired if I have to hold it up to my ear. (Yes, I am that weak)
Smile and say hello: My natural tendency is to put my head down and avoid eye contact when passing people on the sidewalk. But I am making a concerted effort to stand up straight, smile, and at least say hi to people as they walk by. It makes you feel better and it’s always good to practice being friendly!
Most importantly, just enjoy yourself. Observe your surroundings. Take pictures with your phone. Listen to the birds. Smell the fresh-cut grass. Focus on being present and having a nice time!
Do you like to take walks? If so, where do you like to walk? Tag me on Instagram @colleencocobongo and show me your favorite walking path!
A big thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway for Aura Cacia Rosehip Oil! I wish I could give you all a bottle, really. The winner of the giveaway is Rose DeRensis. Look out for your prize in the mail! I’m going to the post office today.