When you’ve been in the health and fitness industry as long as we have, you get asked a lot of different questions. You also get asked a lot of the same questions over and over. But the single most common question endures year after year. That question, ladies and gentlemen, is simply this: “What’s the best exercise?”
Despite the simplicity of the question, if you posed it to ten different “fitness professionals,” it’s unlikely even two of them would be in agreement. Chances are you would hear things like “Squats!,” “Dead-lifts,” “Bench Press,” or even some broader terms like “Interval Training,” “High Intensity Training,” or even “Escalating Density Training”. Those who like to keep up with the latest research trends may trumpet the benefits of “Functional Fitness.”
There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these exercises. But the best exercise will always be the one most appropriate to meet your personal training goals. Here, at the BrainChanging Institute, our goal is a bit different. We are interested in helping people “train for life.”
So, today, we want to tell you about a different type of exercise that is specifically directed to helping you achieve lifelong health and vitality. It’s more of an activity than an exercise but it’s still the answer that we give when asked that all elusive question – “What is the best exercise?.” And that answer is – Walking.
“How on earth can walking be the best exercise?,” you would say.
Well, we’re glad you asked!
First of all, walking is what makes us human. The real branch in the evolutionary tree that separates man from the other great apes is our ability to easily and efficiently travel long distances walking upright. In order to do this, many changes had to occur in our skeleton and muscles — changes that took millions of years. Once we began walking upright, our hands were free to carry and create. Only after we began walking did we start to grow the massive brain that characterizes modern man.
Our evolutionary heritage is repeated in the individual. Our first year of life is defined by the relentless quest to get up, get moving, and finally get walking. The talent and the drive are inborn — you don’t need to teach a child to walk; in fact, short of restraining them, you cannot prevent it.
Since walking isn’t a marketable product or service — it doesn’t get the publicity it deserves. Scientific research confirms that the walking habit provides an enormous variety of health benefits. It will improve your thinking now and keep your mind clearer as you age. If you care more about sense than science, be reassured that daily walking is a common feature among cultures that enjoy very long healthy lives. Walking relieves stress and releases “feel good” chemicals into your brain. Now that’s what we call a healthy addiction!
Once you learn how to walk, it’s something that you never forget, and it’s something that you can always do, no matter what your level of “ability” is. Because you don’t really need anything to go for a walk, it’s a fantastic way to regain your love of movement. And it can be done anywhere, anytime, which makes it very convenient. You don’t need fancy equipment or a gym membership. You can reap many benefits from a daily walk, but you cannot buy the benefits like a vitamin pill. If you want to invest in yourself, you must learn to walk the walk, not just talk the talk!
So, if walking is such an amazing activity, how should you do it? Seems like a weird question right? I mean walking is walking, how complicated can it get? Although this is true, how you should walk still remains a very important question, simply because many people have lots of misconceptions when it comes to this wonderful activity.
Find out how you can get the best experience from walking by reading our Top Guidelines.