The science is clear—weight gain puts you at risk for many preventable diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and more. Increased weight puts stress on your joints and causes inflammation.
This physical stress clearly leads to mental stress, which creates a negative cycle that causes people to continue living a less than optimal lifestyle.
No judgment here. Many people find it difficult to exercise. It’s hard to develop a habit and make it stick. It’s not for lack of trying. Pretty much everyone tries to start an exercise routine damn near every year.
Here’s the thing, though. If you try to go from not exercising to vigorous exercise like running and lifting heavy weights, you’ll be less motivated to go because it’s taxing on your body.
It’s easy to avoid going to the gym after a long day of work when you’re already exhausted from the day. Often, the last thing you want to do is move around a bunch.
Why not just move around a little?
A simple and effective fat loss tool
Walking works well because it’s a low-impact exercise that helps you shed fat without making you hungry.
Research has shown that walking has aneutral effect on appetite, meaning you can do it as much as you want, whereas other forms of exercise like weight lifting and cardio will leave you feeling more famished.
If you walk a lot, you can achieve similar fat loss goals to people who do tons of intensive cardio. I used to do Crossfit. It was intense, exhausting, and it left me dripping in sweat. When I switched to a simple weight lifting routine + 10,000 steps per day, I shed more fat and built a better physique than I ever did doing intense cardio.
Also, walking poses less of an injury risk because it’s low impact. If you’re overweight, you already have added stress on your joints. It doesn’t make sense to jump straight to high-impact exercises. Just start walking daily, and you’ll see improvements.
Of course, you have to combine this with a proper diet, which is another subject altogether. But you can lose weight by walking because it’s an easy way to put your body into acaloric deficit, which means you burn more calories than you eat.
Your body burns calories on its own every single day just from existing. This is called yourbasal metabolic rate (BMR). Add a walking routine and a balanced diet, and you’ll easily burn more calories than you consume each day.
Walking doesn’t take much willpower
People avoid exercise because it takes willpower to go to the gym.
When you wake up each day, your willpower tank is full. With each decision you make, your willpower depletes. This is often why people make poor health decisions at the end of the day.
You had to make decisions at work, run errands, fight through traffic, and deal with a bunch of tiny micro-decisions all day. By the time you get home, you’re wiped, so you say, “Fine, I’ll have those chips even though I know I shouldn’t.” You end up avoiding exercise and making poor eating choices.
Walking doesn’t take much willpower at all. You can just get up and go. 10,000 steps per day is about 5 miles, which seems like a lot, but not if you get into the habit of walking. This takes less willpower than you think.
I have a bunch of ways I get my steps in that don’t take much effort and add up quickly:
I park as far away as possible in the parking of any store or building I go to.
Every hour, I go for a 10-minute walk to take a mental break while working.
Instead of driving to the gas station in the morning to get a coffee, which is about 1,000 steps away, I just walk.
I also go out of my way to walk long stretches at a time, but these brief walks add up quickly.
Think about ways to incorporate walking more into your life. Whenever it makes sense, just go for a quick walk—five minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes.
Walk with your kids, take your spouse on a walk to talk and connect with each other, walk while you’re on phone meetings, or invite a friend to walk and catch up. Make walking something that doesn’t feel like exercise at all.
Walking lowers inflammation
I used to work in an office. During that time of my life, I had all sorts of aches and pains. Headaches, joint pain, and just general inflammation in my whole body.
I work for myself now. So I have more free time to move around and be less sedentary while I work. Adding walking to my routine throughout my day has massively decreased my inflammation. Most of my pain is gone.
Studies have shown that walking can help get rid of low-grade inflammation. It makes sense. You’re moving your body around and being less sedentary, so your body should respond well.
It alsoincreases strength and flexibility, reduces joint pain, and helps combat fatigue. I often find myself gaining energy throughout the day as I walk more often, whereas in the past, I used to feel worn out from sitting all day.
Walking is an amazing tool for the mind
If you ever have something you’re struggling with or stressed about, go for a long walk and give yourself time to think. Odds are you’ll work through the problem or feel more at peace with whatever’s happening.
I look at walking as a form of moving meditation. You can listen to audiobooks or music while you walk, but it’s a good idea to try going for a walk without anything to distract you.
We live in the age of distraction. Social media, advertisements, Netflix, phone calls, texts. These different stimuli are not great for your dopamine receptors or attention span. Our distracted world has to be a major cause of anxiety.
An endless number of creative people swear by walking—artists, writers, company founders, you name it.
Sometimes I walk just to clear my mind and enjoy the present moment. I also walk to think about creative ideas that I can use in my writing, YouTube videos, social media posts, whatever it may be.
It’s smart to keep a small notepad with you so that you can write down any unique insights while walking.
Walking to connect with nature
People spend too much time inside these days.
Connecting with nature makes you feel more connected to the world. When was the last time you went outside to truly enjoy the wonder of the world you live in?
So many people don’t get outside enough, don’t look up from their phones, and don’t take time to take anything in, figuratively or literally smelling the roses.
There are health benefits to being outside, too, like getting enough vitamin D, which also has links to positive mental health benefits.
Walking with others for human connection
If you want to have a deeper experience with someone, go for a walk with them.
Instead of meeting in a stuffy office with someone you want to partner with, go for a walk and talk through the different aspects of the business. You might get a deeper feel for whether or not they’re someone you want to work with.
I love taking women for walks on the first date. It’s a very light and casual way to get to know someone new and break the ice. I take my daughter for walks, which has helped us create a deeper bond. I’ve become known as the “walking guy.” Now, a bunch of my friends will even go on walks with me around the lake by my house.
You should be convinced by now.
Walking 10,000 steps per day has an enormous upside and little to no downside.
It’s so easy to do that it’s hard to find an excuse not to do it. And I promise you, once you get into the habit of doing it, you’ll look forward to it. It will seamlessly become a part of your routine.
Heck, after you’re done reading this, go for a walk right now.