Here's a post for you well-intentioned but under-motivated exercisers of a certain age. Do you keep vowing that today's the day you're going to start an exercise routine? Have you paid for gym memberships you've never used? Do you really want to start on the road to wellness? The best, and arguably easiest way to do just that, especially if you are over 40, is to...
Stand Up and Walk Out the Door!
Many doctors and fitness experts agree that walking may come close to being the perfect form of exercise, especially for beginners. Here are five reasons why:
It's Easy: Unlike activities like skiing, swimming, or tennis, there's no learning curve for walking and no real risks, either. Just about anyone with a comfortable pair of shoes and the desire to begin can take up walking. Walking rarely leaves you with sore muscles or stiff joints. On the contrary, most people report that walking relieves symptoms of arthritis and back pain.
It's Cheap: There's no equipment to buy, no clubs to join, no special outfits required. Other than a good-fitting, comfortable pair of shoes, you really don't need anything you don't already have in order to begin an exercise program based on walking. Rarely is the weather too bad to walk outside, but if it is, you should try mall walking. Virtually all shopping malls invite walkers to work out in the morning before stores open for business. It's warm, safe, and a great way to meet other walkers.
It's Effective: Most people who have been physically inactive can begin a walking program -- with their doctor's permission of course -- as soon as they make up their minds that they want to get fit. And most will notice positive changes in a very short time. Weight loss, toned muscles, increased energy -- a regular walking regimen can result in these welcome changes in just a few short weeks.
It's Rewarding: Whether you choose to walk with a friend and discuss world affairs, use the time you spend walking to learn a foreign language, or revel in the quiet and solitude, walking can become one of the most important parts of your day. Once you get the bug, once walking becomes as habitual as brushing your teeth or grabbing a cup of coffee in the morning, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it. And regular walking program imparts physical and mental benefits that couch potatoes can only dream of.
It's a Gateway Drug: Walking is a good way to enter the world of exercise, where fitness begets more fitness. As working out becomes a way of life, you're likely to find the urge to try other, more demanding ways to test your new found physical strength and stamina. You may decide to sign up for a 5K walk or even a run. Yoga classes may rise to the top of your to-do list. Or a friend might convince you to get in shape for a bike through Napa and Sonoma.
So rather than spend one more day thinking about getting fit, why not lace up your walking shoes, call a friend, and head down the road to a lifetime of fitness.