Let's Start Walking: The Surprisingly Easy Way To Transformation

By Lavanya

May 31, 202415 mins read

Let's Start Walking: The Surprisingly Easy Way To Transformation

Recently, a friend of mine said that her doctor told her walking is only for old people, and as a woman in her mid-40s, she needs to up the intensity. "Start running!", she was told. 

Now, I can see where the doctor is coming from - that women need to strength train, especially as they near menopausal age. We have written plenty about this, so I get where the doctor is going. 

What I do disagree with is the sentiment that walking is only for older people. Walking is for us all. Young, old, not-so-old, fit, not-so-nimble - any person from every end of the health spectrum. 

All too often, we get bogged down by the minutiae and lose sight of the larger picture. The "lifting weights is the only way to good health" school of thought. The "only way to reap long term benefits from any fitness regimen is to go hard and strong". The "first thing to do if you are serious about this, is get yourself a good personal trainer" brigade. 

Contrasting advice bombarding from all directions can paralyze us and make us lose sight of the goal: that of good health. 

And walking is an excellent way to get there. 

The undeniable advantages of walking

It is cheap. You do not need any fancy equipment. Yes, you can get the fancy walking shoe endorsed by your favourite celebrity which makes you feel like you are walking on air, but you know that isn’t necessary. You can just lace up your bog-standard shoes, head out of your door, and get going. 

You don't need any extra skills to start walking. We learn to walk as babies and we definitely should be able to put one foot in front of the other at any point in life. 

It is a wonderful thing you can do anywhere - along the beach, on the pavement, on a treadmill, during your lunch break, or even inside your house, as we all did during the crazy days of the pandemic. 

The benefits of a regular walking habit are numerous, Whether you choose to hit the magic 10k steps mark or not, you will reap many rewards. Walking will increase your heart rate - improved cardiovascular health is a benefit we can all enjoy and work towards. Better blood flow and lower blood pressure are amazing health benefits for not just the old, I am sure everyone will agree. 

Walking at a brisk pace - one at which you will not be able to hold a conversation but aren't completely gassed out - can provide you with a boost of endorphins and an increase in energy levels, without putting undue pressure on your joints. If fat loss is your goal, regular walking combined with a calorie deficit is a great way to achieve your goal, no matter where you are starting from.  

But the best part is what it does to your mental health.

The mental health benefits of walking


Weight loss is not the only benefit of any kind of fitness routine. Mental health is just as important, if not more, as the pursuit of physical wellness. 

According to the Mental Health Foundation, even a short stint of just ten minutes of walking will do wonders for your mental health. With a proven impact on lowering stress and anxiety, walking is rightfully seen as the first step towards positive mental health by much of the medical establishment. 

In the first place, any kind of physical exercise will boost your mood. This is a given. At The Quad, we are big believers in the sentiment that lifting weights lifts moods. This holds for the humble walking too.  

It is the simple act of being out in the great outdoors, smelling fresh air, and soaking in the morning sun that can lift your mood. 

Living in a hot and often humid country like India, one has to be mindful of the harmful effects of the sun. This is why the early morning is favored by the walkers. Driving to my Quad class at 5 am, I always go past the many walking and running groups that take advantage of the time of the morning before the scorcher of the day makes your skin feel like it is melting off your bones. 

In the second, walking is something we can do solo or as a part of a group. There are plenty of walking groups around, no matter where in the world you live. Being a part of a community is important for our mental health and by joining a walking group, you can nail both birds with one stone.

Some good ideas to help you get those steps in


Do not let your busy schedule keep you from good health. If your every working day kind of looks busy, you know you have to be creative in finding time. 

Key in some walking time with your team, and get in a walking meeting. Nothing beats getting your work done while working on your health, right? 

If your budget allows, get yourself a desk treadmill! Perfect for those work-from-home days - lends a new meaning to chained to your desk, doesn't it? 

For those of us who work well with a clear goal, step counts are a brilliant way to get us going. The oft-cited magic goal of 10000 steps may have detractors, but what it has undoubtedly done is given us something to work towards. Pedometers, smartphone app,s or smartwatches, there are easy step counters out there to help us motivated. 

The bottom line is that walking is good for you no matter how old you are. Especially if you enjoy it. Add more to it - lift weights, do yoga, sign up for Zumba or sign up for the local running chapter - but do not let anyone convince you it is only for your dotage.