Since the outbreak of the virus pandemic, the majority of people have been working from home. For many, this has been an interesting experience and they have learned and adapted their habits and routine. In cities like Atlanta, GA, where traffic hours are from 6am to 9pm, stress has not been part of the driving experience. Going forward, I hope that organizations will encourage employees to work from home more often.
The most prominent worries and stressors have related to finances, relationships (family and friends), and health. Speaking of health, this work-from-home routine has added hours back to people’s lives (driving, social, and business activities, etc.).
It has been very encouraging to see more people going for walks and running outside. On a side note, I feel blessed with the weather. You and I could be going through the lockdown during a dreadful summer or winter. Instead, it’s either spring or fall 🙏.
The lives of many busy professionals, who barely had time for self-care, have shifted some. I see more families walking together. I see a single parent and/or family member with a child / children go for a walk and jog together. Physical activity is essential to help us cope with physical, emotional, and mental challenges. This positive upgrade is super!!!
As a health and fitness coach and entrepreneur, I am all about making the most out of anything I do physically. My brain is hooked to dopamine spikes and I love leveraging physical activity to achieve that instead of feeding sugar, simple carbs, or alcohol. I’ve been there, done that for decades. Exercise works for me and literally for anyone. That’s why I am passionate to help people, whatever level they are at. We must consistently do the ‘reps’ and eventually, you get hooked and crave the outcome.
For my walkers out there, I created a couple of videos with movements that you might consider incorporating into your walks.
Before I go there, let’s review some of the science associated the benefits of walking:
Regulates blood sugar and improves insulin sensitivity
During exercise, muscles require more energy to maintain normal function. In order to supply energy to muscles to perform activities, the body will utilize glucose in your bloodstream. The body responds by converting more glucose into energy. This, in turn, causes an immediate spike in insulin to transport glucose to muscles more effectively.
It strengthens your heart muscles
Just like all other muscles in the body, taking regular exercises, including brisk walking, will strengthen your heart muscles. This implies that more blood will be pumped to your cells and the heart has to pump more blood. A stronger heart works less to pump blood lowering the force on your arteries and blood pressure. Healthy, right?
Your mood is boosted
The brain has hormones called endorphins, which are released during an exercise like walking. They inhibit the transmission of pain signals and produces euphoria. Serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine are also secreted in the process of moderate physical activity. A combination of these hormones keeps your moods positive and lowers depression.
Helps in weight loss
Being overweight gets uncomfortable and can prevent us from doing more of the things we love in life. During this period and going forward, attempt to take frequent walks. Make fun out of it with your family, children, or friends. It’ll help to reduce your weight substantially even when you possess weight-promoting genes.
A friend of mine told me that her friend started to walk 15k per day and she lost a total of 17 pounds during the lockdown. Cheers to consistency. WIN-WIN!
Ready to reap more health benefits?
Now that we revalidated a few health benefits of walking, let’s get to down to ideas to boosting our walk. Are you in?
Before getting out for the walk, stretch out for at least 5 minutes. Also, do 10-15 leg swings, active calf stretches (tiptoes walk), do 10-15 air squats, and 30 seconds of jumping jacks to get the heart pumping faster.
I encourage you to walk with a backpack to carry your exercise ‘toys’, water bottle, keys, and phone. To ensure you’re comfortable, add a small pillow inside the backpack to cushion your back. You will notice I suggest timing circuits. You can use your phone or a separate device.
Some of the upper body movements include walking backward and forward while stretching the resistance band mini loop, lifting hands up and down while stretching the resistance band mini loop, and many others. Get of examples at https://youtu.be/K_i1jPHS590
A few toys to take with you and use for your routines are:
- Tube resistance band
- Mini loop resistance band
- Non-loop resistance band
- Ankle weights
Examples of the movements involved include a brisk walk, side hops, wide strides, and others. To make the experience more interactive, I recorded a video for you. Click https://youtu.be/gDDMRJF7BHU to get ideas. Here are the exercise toys I use to demo the exercises:
- Resistance band mini loop
- Ankle weights
Plan your walk ahead of time
Whether you have 10, or 15, or 20, or 30+ minutes, decide what you will do and length of intervals. Prepare your body and mind for your journey. At first, you may incorporate one single movement for your walks. As you progress and increase strength and want more and more of it, consider mixing and matching several movements to experience a more effective walk.
If you are walking on a treadmill, there are ways to boost your effectiveness and strength as well. If you would like me to make suggestions, send me an email or write me a note on social media.
Happy walking 🚶♀️🚶♀️🚶♀️
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