Walking Workout: 5 Reasons You Should Start Today | Libertyville Area Moms

Meaghan Murphy and her husband at Princeton Longevity Center

This story originally appeared on The Local Moms Network.

Meaghan Murphy spent decades as a fitness fanatic, focusing on what she calls “hardcore sweat sessions” like SLT, Orange Theory and boxing. But the mom of three, who is also Editor-in-Chief of Woman’s Day and author of Your Fully Charged Life, had to pivot her exercise routine when a preventative double mastectomy made her “relearn her body.” A key insight? A walking workout.

“I couldn’t lift my arms above my head and was forced to gently ease back into movement. It turns out walking was my magic bullet. I committed to logging 10K steps a day (I need a goal!) and wound up getting in the best shape of my life both physically and mentally,” shares Meaghan. She even posted the results of this realization on her social media pages, including a health journey to the Princeton Longevity Center with her husband.

“We both have some awful family history with cancer and we decided we wanted a complete and comprehensive picture of our own health. One of the most surprising findings was that I was in better cardiovascular shape than when I was running 3:29 marathons! Walking 10K steps per day was incredibly effective and a whole lot easier on my joints. Mind blown!” shares Meaghan.

Bradee Felton, CPT, founder of Fit For Hiking

 

Fitness experts, however, say that Meaghan’s results aren’t unusual. Bradee Felton, CPT, holistic health coach and founder of Fit for Hiking shares that a walking workout has many benefits, including these five:

It Regulates Your Central Nervous System
“Walking and taking deep breaths is a great way to slow your nervous system and get into a relaxed state,” says Bradee. Getting outdoors, especially in the morning, has benefits from improved sleep to lower rates of depression. Bradee adds that midday walks can also give you a boost of energy.

Your Joints Will Thank You
“There is less of a barrier to getting started walking regularly because it’s much easier on the body,” says Bradee. Less impact means less chance for injury, so you can probably walk more regularly and for longer-term. She adds that increasing your heart rate moderately but for a more prolonged time, can additionally promote heart health, too (whereas with running you might only be able to briefly elevate your heart rate).

Walking Doesn’t Make You Ravenous
If you’re trying to maintain your decrease your weight, more intense activities can actually have the opposite effect. “Where running is known to “work up an appetite”, walking increases your total daily energy expenditure without driving hunger hormones up,” says Bradee.

It’s Great For Busy Moms
“You can bring the kids along with a stroller or have them on their bikes or scooters. You can also take a walking meeting to get work done but get your body moving,” says Bradee. The best part? You don’t need any special gear or clothing for walking—any supportive athletic shoe will do.

You Can Take It Up A Notch Easily
Bradee notes that resistance training should be incorporated into a walking routine in order to prevent muscle mass loss and slowing of metabolism and lowering of bone density – important as we get older. But don’t underestimate just starting to take (literal) steps, and slowly increasing pace, incline and length of your walks. Says Bradee: ”Walking is the best foundation for getting in shape and very underrated in the fitness world!”

As for Meaghan, she won’t stop walking anytime soon, even as she’s incorporated Barre classes back into her routine. Says Meaghan: “My dog and I are closer than ever. We’ve really bonded on our long walks. I have stronger relationships with family and friends thanks to walkie-talkie sessions. I also enjoy using the time to listen to news podcasts, or Zen out with the sun in my face.”

 

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