By Whitney Blakeslee
When people imagine my job as a personal trainer, they assume that I lift a lot of weight, love running, and probably push my clients to go harder. But the reality is, I am also a mom with a busy life and stress. My favorite workout? Walking. It is something I recommend everyone add to their routine.
As parents, we’re all looking for ways to stay healthy and strong, but it is difficult to add gym time to our already-full schedules! Most of us simply don’t move enough during the day. Starting with a simple walking routine can make a big impact. Here are some reasons why I believe walking is the best workout.
It Is A Family Activity
Don’t get me wrong — I love a good gym session, but if it involves finding childcare for my daughter, this will restrict how often I go. Going out for a walk is movement that I can do WITH my daughter. If you have a baby, he or she can come along in a carrier or stroller. Older kids benefit from walking along with you and getting some movement themselves! What better way to model healthy habits than to make it a family activity everyone can enjoy together.
Come As You Are
Unlike many activities at the gym, walking can be done anywhere, for any amount of time, without any equipment, and by people of almost any fitness level. You can go for a long walk around your neighborhood or hiking with your kids along trails. You can go to the park or simply park a few blocks away from the grocery store and walk there. You don’t need to be “fit” to get started because you are able to move at your own pace. There is none of that initial embarrassment many people feel when they walk into a new gym. No need to pack anything special or change clothes — just go!
Walking Is A Mode Of Transportation
According to the American Community Survey, 90 percent of households own a car. That is a lot of cars on the road! If you live in a place with safe sidewalks and a destination nearby, consider walking to get around. We default to driving without realizing that we can get somewhere powered by our own bodies. I have drawn a one-mile radius around my house, and my daughter and I walk to anything that falls within that range. It keeps a car off the road, saves gas money, and keeps a bit of pollution out of the air. All that, and we get the benefit of fresh air, healthier bodies, and a deeper connection with our neighborhood.
When you use walking as transportation, you are exercising while you stop at the bank, head to story time at the library, or meet up for a playdate. Win, win! But in addition to taking care of errands, you can listen to an interesting podcast or audiobook or talk to a friend on the phone. You can use this exercise time to learn a new language, listen to a favorite book, or chat with a friend. Not many types of exercise allow for that kind of multitasking!
No need to pay for childcare. No special equipment to buy. No gym membership to purchase. I’m sure we would all enjoy a few more dollars in our bank accounts! Just find a safe place to get outside a put one foot in front of the other.
As a personal trainer, fellow parent, and lover of simplicity, I hope that you give walking for fitness a try!
Whitney is a Postnatal Fitness Specialist and body positivity advocate. She lives in sunny Denver with her partner, snaggle-toothed pup, and dinosaur-loving toddler.
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