It’s no secret I love a good walk. In fact, my daily walk is one of the few things that keeps me sane when I can’t go to the gym or cycle class at Zoom.
While Beachbody workouts are great, and I truly enjoy doing them. Plus, there are tons of alternative options on Youtube, on Obe Fitness. However, sometimes I don’t want to do a guided workout. Instead, I go for a walk.
It’s no secret my weight has fluctuated over the years. Besides a good Beachbody workout, the best workout I have found to help me tone up is a good walk. I live in central Virginia, so it’s rather hilly no matter where you go. Depending on fitness level, this can be more of a pain than a good thing.
I tend to walk for 30 minutes a day. I simply put on tennis shoes and plug in my headphones. I alternate between my iTunes playlists/recently purchased and Amazon Music for Prime members. Occasionally, I listen to podcasts, but if I go any faster than a walk I feel like I miss out on information. I’m a big fan of these podcasts: Gretchen Geraghty’s Happy Hour Podcast, Samantha Peszek’s I Have Cool Friends, and Living Fully with Mallory Ervin.
I started daily walks when I was in college. Newport News is relatively flat, which was so nice! I had been injured in high school (sprained foot) and still felt some pain. I rode horses on the equestrian team and knew I needed to stay in shape. At this point, I was still struggling with the idea of lifting weights and had no desire to do extra strenuous cardio like running. Cycling was not a thing yet (especially in Newport News). In my first year, in January I got really sick and ended up gaining a ton of weight (like 30 to 40 pounds). It took a while, but I finally managed to get it off the weight I had gained. In February of my junior year, I ended up spraining my foot…again. This was horrible. I ended up in a walking boot for 3 months. From the walking boot, I went to a stirrup split. I wore the split for another 3 plus months. When I got back from studying abroad in London, I started PT and it finally started to get better. I learned a lot about my body during PT (like how an undiagnosed spine issue was part of why I kept spraining my foot). I had also picked up those 30 pounds again. After months of working out (and learning to like both cardio and weight lifting), I managed to lose the weight again. After graduating from college, I worked in retail. I kept the weight off. When I shifted to working as a teacher’s assistant and being a full time student. I gained back some of the weight. I joined a gym and started working out for 3 plus hours a day. I do not recommend this method. It was hard and time consuming. I constantly felt like my body was being pushed to its limit. I was eating almost nothing (scrambled eggs for breakfast, a Lunchable for lunch and a small dinner). However, since we switched to distance learning with the COVID-19 outbreak, it has been easier to get in my daily walk, and I’ve already noticed a difference, even with keeping everything else the same! I know I need consistency so I am sure I will continue to see the difference.
I’m fortunate that I have some property available to me (aka my parents’ property) where I can walk undisturbed for an extended time. It’s got the hills (not my favorite), but hills are great for added toning and weight loss. Hills or any interval training helps spike the heart rate. Spikes or increases in your heart rate are what help aid fat loss.
Walking on flat ground is still good for you! If your goal is fat loss, I would suggest doing some speed intervals of a slower pace and speed walking.
If you do not have immediate access to property where you can walk there are tons of trails in Virginia! Make sure to check on websites to make sure they are open.
Central Virginia Trails
Preddy Creek Trail (Greene County)
Monticello-Saunders Trail (Albemarle County near Monticello)
Humpback Rock (Blue Ridge Parkway)
Crabtree Falls (Nelson County)
Spy Rock (Nelson County)
Blackwater Creek Trail (Lynchburg)
Southern Virginia Trails
Noland Trail (Newport News, near Christopher Newport University and the Mariner’s Museum)
Virginia Creeper Trail (Abingdon)
New River Trail (Abingdon)
High Points Trail (Abingdon)
High Bridge State Park (Rice)
*tons of walking areas around Jamestown, Williamsburg, and Yorktown
Northern Virginia Trails
Great Falls Park
Billy Goat Trail (technically in Maryland)
Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail (McLean)
Lake Thoreau Loop Trail (Reston)
Turkey Run Park (McLean)
Raven Rocks (Bluemont)
Woodrow Wilson Bridge Trail (technically in Maryland)
Virginia is also one of the states on the Appalachian Trail. There are tons of little day hikes you can do.
For a more comprehensive list check here.
What’s your favorite way to workout? Would you give walking a try?