These days, messaging around which exercise program to follow can be awfully confusing… even I have scratched my head at some of the tactics used to ‘motivate’ people to adopt or discard certain forms of exercise.
The truth is, there is no one size fits all approach to fitness.
Case in point, a couple of weeks ago, during a private coaching call, my client burst into tears over the fact that she hasn’t been exercising. She knew she needed to move her body but what she was supposed to do was too intense and what she really wanted to do was get outside for a walk.
Baffled, I inquired why she hadn’t just listened to that inner pull to go for a walk.
“Because I need to lose weight and that will keep me fat!”
My jaw dropped.
Where on earth had that dangerous belief come from? I felt angry at my industry for sending this dangerous message and heartbroken that she had willingly discarded her gut feelings for an outsider’s perspective.
As a Fitness and Nutrition Therapist, my passion is helping clients realize they can become the expert of their own lives – they can understand the signals their bodies, hearts, and minds are sending and respond accordingly.
Here are 7 points that I passionately explicated in that coaching session to remind her of the Power of Walking:
- It’s Easy and Natural: The human body is designed for daily movement. It is essential for optimal physiological function and contributes to total health and wellbeing. Walking is one of the most fundamental movement patterns requiring coordinated and integrated use of our arms, torso, and legs. If you’re doing nothing, this is an obvious place to start. It can be done just about anywhere – no equipment needed.
- It Helps You Avoid Constipation, Indigestion, and Illness: Each of these undesirable states keeps your system sluggish, pulling energy away from your potential healing and weight release. Walking involves rhythmic contraction and relaxation of the muscles stimulating a cascade of positive effects that mobilize and massage internal organs (aids digestion and assimilation of nutrients), support lymph fluid movement (removal of toxins), and boost immune system function.
- It Boosts Mood, Outlook, Energy, and Clarity: We know from yoga that timing breath with movement has a profound effect on mood, outlook, energy, and clarity. Turns out walking elicits the same response – the effort of walking and breathing stimulates the nervous system and triggers internal fluids and pressures to automatically synchronize breath with movement. Coordinated inhales, exhales and gait flood the body with endorphins that improve your entire emotional energy, a key component to release unwanted weight of all kinds.
- It Connects You on a Deeper Level: Walking is a meditative experience offering you the all-too-infrequent time and space needed to check in with yourself and your spirit. To reflect on your life, your choices, and what the next phase of your journey looks like. Emotional, mental, and spiritual wellbeing are facilitated by the rhythms of a healthy physical body – all aspects of health go hand-in-hand – one cannot be achieved without the other.
- It Reduces Stress: Like all cardiovascular exercise, walking promotes production of neurohormones like norepinephrine that are associated with improved cognitive function, elevated mood and learning. Feel-good endorphins flood the body reducing stress and alleviating anxious and depressive feelings. This state of being motivates us to make healthy decisions regarding work, food, life, and love.
- Yes, It Burns Calories: If you’re still in a space where calorie burn matters, know that brisk walking stimulates metabolism, increases enzyme activity, and boosts circulation of all body systems. In our sedentary world, this is a critical component to weight loss, maintenance, and overall health.
- It Adheres To My Guidelines for The Right Kind of Exercise: When it comes to your personal health profile, the right kind of exercise matters. This means the movement you chose will be inviting, energizing, challenging (this can even mean the challenge of going lighter), is time efficient and can be done consistently.
After clarifying all of the benefits of walking my client, clearly relieved, was excited to get out and move her body again in a way that was inviting, energizing, and doable for her at this point in her life.
While expert advice is helpful and often well-intended, don’t ever let anyone steer you away from what’s calling to you from your deepest wisdom – we all have a gut feeling about what we need in order to feel healthy, connected, and “on track”.
What if walking is the exact thing you need today? It’s okay, in fact, it’s highly recommend, to trust yourself.
In Love & Gratitude,