Walking and running have the lowest cost of entry of nearly any sport and are among the most convenient. Think about it, a good pair of shoes, a lively playlist and you can leave right from your own driveway. How much simpler can it be?
Certainly there are other great ways to get a cardiovascular workout. Cycling, elliptical machines, rowing, swimming, fencing… you name it. All great ways to exercise. But none can touch walking or running (I lump them together because they’re equally beneficial) for accessibility.
One way to improve the odds of weight loss success is to remove obstacles.
Because walking and running are so user-friendly they’re a great launching point into fitness. One trip to a specialty running store and about $100 will earn you a great pair of shoes and months worth of heart-pumping, endorphin-jacked up swagger.
Seriously, you are gonna feel fantastic after you do this. I promise.
When I started losing weight I began walking. Not far at first, but before too long I found that I liked the solitude and time spent walking so much I went for longer and longer distances. Before I knew it I was walking 7 or 8 miles. I found I liked to set my own pace, go as far as I wanted to, for as long as I wanted to, listen to whatever I wanted to. I could think when I was walking. It cleared my head, yet left me feeling focused, exhilarated and accomplished.
As my weight dropped it became easier to walk faster, and eventually that morphed into running. Initially I just ran on the downhills. Before too long the straightaways. With much cursing, eventually the uphills.
Because I was already used to the time it took to go long(ish) distances it never seemed overwhelming to me to run 8 miles. And at some point even farther. In fact, I’m convinced that it’s mostly getting used to the time that it takes that stops most people from doing it. We get impatient; we’re focused on all the other things we need to do.
Put aside your “to do” list for an hour or so and just get outside.
Burning calories is just one of the many reasons cardiovascular exercise is such a good idea. Others are: improving heart health, increasing metabolism, elevating mood, stabilizing hormonal swings, boosting productivity.
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You can be certain of your calorie burn only if you’re wearing a heart-rate monitor, but generally you’ll burn 85-100 calories per mile walking (depending on your weight and pace) and 100-125 calories per mile running. A heavier person (more mass) burns more than a lighter person. A faster person burns more than a slower person. So if you’re a really big guy who can run fast, you’re golden! The rest of us will just keep slogging along.
Both walking and running are excellent ways to build cardiovascular fitness. Either can be done at a beginner, intermediate or advanced level. They can be combined in a run/walk program, and can most certainly be part of a good cross-training regimen.
For an investment of about 100 bucks you can get yourself a top-notch pair of running shoes that’ll last you roughly 500 miles.
It is possible running and walking are the best fitness bargain there is and you’ll earn back dividends tenfold!
Losing weight is hard, but it gets easier when lacing up your shoes becomes part of the fitness habit you come to love. And you’re so damn worth it!
Let’s go get it!