It’s not even news anymore – a sedentary lifestyle is dangerous. In fact, it is slowly killing us. Nevertheless, we sit around every day, almost all the time – in our offices, in our cars, in front of screens and at lunches with friends in our leisure time.
Unlike the dreaded physical injuries characteristic of physically demanding jobs, the damage from a sedentary lifestyle creeps up slowly. A number of debilitating medical conditions are connected to or caused by a sedentary lifestyle, including obesity, heart failure, cancer, and depression. Fortunately, unlike many problems in life that are beyond our control and thus difficult to solve, this one is up to us.
All we need to do is start walking again.
Humans Were Made For Walking
Human bodies are in fact designed for walking long distances. Our bipedal movement, as well as our bone and muscle alignment and anatomy, make us perfect long-distance walkers. Considering that fact, it’s no wonder that we suffer when we sit all the time, and that taking a daily walk is linked to so many health benefits.
Daily walking is associated with a decrease of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and osteoporosis risks. And if you take on lively brisk walks, you can reduce even more risks – lowering your chances of ending up with sexual dysfunction, or cognitive issues.
Modern society is awakening to the reality of our basic need to walk. Recreational walking, whether it’s a casual city walk or exciting hiking or trekking on a walking holiday, is becoming increasingly popular across all generations.
So with that in mind, let’s answer some common questions about why we need to include walking as a form of exercise in our life, and how to go about doing it.
What To Do Before Starting A Walking Routine?
Apart from people with specific conditions, most healthy people can handle a mid-paced daily walk. However, if you are planning to progress to covering longer distances and increasing your tempo, visiting your doctor for a check-up before you start is a good idea – particularly if you are over 40 or you have a chronic condition.
When you get the green light from your doctor, find comfortable clothes and walking shoes. You need to be wearing the right clothes and shoes, otherwise you could hurt yourself, especially if you use inappropriate footwear. A light backpack with a water bottle is also a must, especially if you go long distances; dehydration is a well-known enemy of the human body.
No other specific equipment is essential, although some people feel comfortable and more confident using walking sticks or trekking poles.
How To Start A Walking Routine?
The beauty of walking is that you don’t need highly specialized equipment or rigorous fitness preparations. Walking is kind both to your body and your budget. Also, with proper clothing and hydration, walking can be done in almost any climate and weather conditions.
It will greatly benefit you if you do a basic warm-up before a walking session. Joint rotations and warming up all of the major muscle groups will prevent soreness and injury. As for planning your daily walking tempo, a simple schedule like this one is all you need if you crave some structure.
If you’ve been inactive for a long time, it’s really important that you don’t overexert yourself, especially in the beginning. Listen to your body and take it easy – remember there are no shortcuts to getting truly fit. If you stick to your routine, you are sure to make steady progress over time.
What To Do When You Live In An Area With No Space For Walking?
If you live in a neighbourhood which is not fit for walking, you can always go to the nearest and best-suited park. Still, for those who want to walk for many miles, the options within urban areas are usually unsatisfactory.
Perhaps you won’t be able to walk the distance you want in your hometown, but that shouldn’t deter you from walking as much as you can. When you feel ready, you can always treat yourself and go on a walking holiday.
What Are Walking Holidays?
A walking holiday falls into the active holiday category. It is a travel arrangement where, instead of lying around on the beach, the main focus is on recreation by walking, hiking or trekking. It usually includes several locations that you will cover during the trip, connected by the walking trails you’ll be using.
It’s not always easy to pick a walking holiday destination since the options are so vast, especially as walking holidays are getting more and more popular. Ancient pilgrim routes offer some of the best possibilities for a satisfying walking holiday. Tried-and-tested trails such as Camino de Santiago are a pleasing mix of charming natural surroundings and excellent roads lined with quality service points. There are many routes to choose from – your journey could be anywhere from 100- to 800-kilometers long. It is totally up to you to pick your starting point and the network of trails you’ll be traveling. The most popular are the Camino Frances, the Camino Ingles, and the Camino Portugues.
When Is The Best Time To Start Walking?
The best time to start walking is – today! Even the lightest walking routine will start making a difference if you stick to it. If you have any doubts left, just remember you were biologically made for it.
Returning to your walking human origins is sure to make a positive impact on the way you move, feel, breathe, work, and travel. To learn how to walk again basically means to learn how to live again.