It might sound a little silly but I love walking. One of the main reasons I love NYC is it is a walking city. You have to walk unless you have enough money to afford taking cabs everywhere or to have your own driver. But it is such a perfect place to wander that there is no reason you would want to do otherwise. After super storm Sandy a few years ago the city’s public transportation system was shut down. You actually had no choice but to wait with millions of others for a cab or to walk. We of course chose to walk. We strolled to work each morning and then jogged home. When the subway system opened back up it was filthy and crowded. We quickly realized that it was worth it to us to wake up an hour earlier to walk the three miles to work than to deal with that mess. And we loved our runs home each night. I would often weave around different routes to add mileage, and discovered so many fun places I never realized existed in the city.
Chicago on the other hand offers a very different walking experience. While NYC is made up of one small island, Chicago is much more spread out. When I went out for walks in the spring I discovered that I was going to love our new home. There are trees and parks everywhere, and Lake Michigan is just a mile from us. Sidewalks go on forever and you can wander to places that make you feel like you are miles from the city.
Walking, even for runners is a great form of exercise and a wonderful way to change things up. It is an excellent form of cross training that gives your running muscles and joints a break. It also helps strengthen your feet and continues to improve on the endurance you build up with your running. All of this is especially helpful during times when you are injured and can’t run. If walking is an option, it can help maintain some of your fitness, get you back on the track faster, and make your speed up your overall comeback.
Walking is a great way to maintain your fitness on days off. While it places minimal strain on your body it will help keep blood flowing to aid in your recovery. It is a lot like when swimmers jump in the pool a day after the race to help flush lactic acid out of their bodies to help prepare for their next race.
Strolling around also is a great way to burn fat. In one hour you will typically burn around 300 calories. This is approximately half of what you would burn running, but still a decent burn! It is recommended that if you chose to replace a run with a walk that you double the time you would have spent running. For example, if you usually run for 30 minutes, aim for a 60 minute walk.
While a lot of people would say that a 30 minute or 60 minute walk each day is time consuming, it is important to consider the many ways you can implement this in your life. My husband and I try to take an evening stroll after dinner each night. It is a great time to discuss our day or any other matters that we didn’t get a chance to talk about earlier. My parents have always gone for a daily walk together and always use this time to spend with each other as well as their dog.
Your daily walk can be a family activity. Have the kids hop on their bikes. Grab your partner and pull out the stroller. Call it a nature walk and have the family look for certain sights along the way. In all of the hectic moments we have in our lives this can be a great way to spend an allotted time with each other. If the evening doesn’t work for you consider going for a walk at lunch. By making time each day and using it as a family activity, you are helping to instill healthy habits for everyone.