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Struggling to maintain your fitness routine? Walking could help. 

Sticking to a workout regime is hard: we’ve all attempted a new training programme with great intentions, only to let it slide after a few weeks. Right now, sustaining a routine might be on your mind more than ever – perhaps you’re looking for a way to keep up your training over the festive period, wondering how you’ll actually stick to your new year’s resolution in 2022 or are simply done with your on/off exercise cycle.

The solution lies in the activity you do outside of your favoured workout or sport. According to Strava, who analysed millions of pieces of data throughout 2021, those who walk alongside their cycling and running are more likely to still be taking part in their activities after six months. It found that 41% of walkers also regularly cycle, and 46% are keen runners.“That is real motivation and a really interesting trend – how discipline and attention track across different activity types, acyclovir no prescription w ” says Strava’s senior director of data Shailvi Wakhlu. 

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But what exactly is it about walking that can help us stick with our fitness goals?

Walking maintains and improves fitness

There is nothing more disheartening than feeling you’re not getting better. When that happens, we tend to give up or go harder. But walking has a huge impact on improving your fitness between your training sessions.

“I find walking really encourages confidence in my classes, as it helps the aerobic system gradually increase in efficiency,” says Lillie Bleasdale, running coach and founder of running group Passa.

Walking for fitness: a walk can improve endurance for running

It’s also a way of building up your endurance, getting the body used to spending extra minutes or hours on your feet. “That certainly helps with those mental barriers especially for a new runner,” adds Bleasdale, as a half an hour run starts to feel less daunting once you’re used to half an hour walks.

In a 2014 review by the British Medical Journal, walking was shown to significantly increase VO2max, which is how well the body transports oxygen – a key sign of fitness. The same study showed walking also reduced symptoms of depression – one of the key barriers to fitness. Getting through a plateau just got easier.

Walking gets you out the door

“I often think the hardest part of running is just getting out the door,” says Stylist’s digital writer Lauren Geall. “Because you can’t run every day, that momentum can really die on the few days off and the thought of running is worse than the actual run. But when I walk on my rest days, it maintains the simple act of getting outside.” 

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That doesn’t have to be true only for running or cycling, either. On recovery days from the gym or when you don’t have time for a full workout, subbing in a walk helps maintain your routine.

Walking promotes recovery

If you’re seizing up between workouts, a walk will do your body the world of good. “Overall walking is a fantastic mode of active recovery which can help to flush out the legs ready for the next session,” says Bleasdale.

That’s because movement encourages blood flow which can reduce inflammation and encourage lymphatic drainage. Better recovery means improved adaptations, leaving you feeling fitter and pain-free in your next workout. 

Images: Pexels/Getty

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