One thing you can do to improve your health and fitness RIGHT now?
Get up and walk.
I absolutely used to be someone who felt virtuous as hell after I got my workout in.
I’d pat myself on the back and then go sit for the rest of the day.
But I’ve since learned that the stuff we do in the 23 or 23.5 hours outside of our formal exercise session, has way more impact on our long-term health.
Your Movement Diet Consists Of More Than Just “Exercise”
There’s plenty of evidence that sitting for prolonged periods is a detriment to your long term health. Even if you exercise an hour a day.
And it’s not just a matter of trading sitting for standing.
You gotta MOVE more.
And the easiest way to add more movement to your day?
Take a walk. Or two.
Benefits of Daily Walking
If you’re not walking every day, consider this:
1) Walking helps reduce stress and improve mental health.
Recreational walking stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system- the rest and digest side. Especially when you can get your walks outdoors (because spending time in nature is also down-regulating!).
2) Walking is the superfood of exercise.
Walking 20 minutes a day reduces chance of early death.
30 minutes a day reduces chances of cardiovascular disease.
Walking 60 minutes a day significantly reduces the rate of breast cancer occurrence and reoccurrence.
And I’m just getting started.
This is low-hanging fruit y’all!
3) Walking is the best body balancing activity.
It takes your pelvic floor through it’s full range of motion and helps balance tone across the pelvic floor muscles.
And if you’re pregnant, there’s really no better single exercise to get you prepped for labor.
How To Start Walking Every Day
Just getting started?
1) Start with 30 minutes a day.
Try starting with 30 minutes a day, EVEN IF YOU DO A STRUCTURED WORKOUT. It’s not either/or. Its both.
2) Wear a step counter.
It’s incredibly motivating to SEE your activity progress on your wrist.
3) Break it up
Whether you’re shooting to add some walking to your day or reach for a step goal, you can spread it out throughout the day.
And lastly, let me leave you with this:
Walking isn’t the meat-substitute for running.
Humans evolved to walk a lot and run a little.
They’re independent activities with independent benefits. And even if you’re a runner, you should be including walks as well for their restorative benefits.
My mission is to make sure that having a baby is not a reason why you can’t do all the things.
Laura Jawad holds a PhD and a personal training certification (NASM). She’s a proud Certified Prenatal & Postnatal Coach and Pregnancy & Postpartum Athleticism Coach. You can check out the rest of her alphabet soup here.