Friday Workout: This One Is for All Levels

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The other day, I decided my workout for the day was going to be to walk two miles. That is correct -- a two-mile walk. I had completed tough workouts the previous few days and thought I needed to get up my normal time to train and just go for a walk.

This enables me to stay in the habit of training as the sun rises, but also requires me to listen to my body when I need to pull back a notch and focus on recovery. Depending on who you are, this two-mile walk workout could be a huge challenge, a decent workout, a recovery day or a warmup to longer activities.

But the two-mile walk is a perfect workout for any level who wants to get some exercise, whether this is going to be a recovery day or will set a personal record for you.

The two-mile walk takes roughly 30 minutes if you can move at a 15-minute-per-mile pace. This pace is a steady walk, not a casual stroll, but it also is not a fast power walk. According to the Mayo Clinic, "As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity every day. If you want to lose weight, maintain weight loss, or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to exercise more."

Sure, we could always do more for daily fitness, but staying mobile regardless of intensity level is a healthy way to start the day. It is also a great way to end the day with a stress-relieving walk. In fact, if your abilities are low or your schedule is so jammed that you cannot manage 30 minutes at one time, it is fine to break it up into 10-minute walks spread throughout the day. Perhaps a 10-minute walk after every meal?

If you are a beginner to walking or any activity, consider trying a 30-minute walk or two 15-minute walks per day for starters. This amount of activity can change your life if you currently do nothing and have not done any physical activity in quite some time. If this is you, check with a medical professional before you start.

I would guarantee that a doctor will most likely recommend you to start walking if you are physically capable, but underlying health conditions may require more specific guidance. Avoid outside temperatures that are too hot or too cold as they could affect you adversely. Drink plenty of water.

If you are able, simply walking and drinking more water each day can change how you feel and look in a manner of a few months -- if you stay consistent.

If you are at an intermediate or advanced level and this kind of activity is already included in a normal workout or even a warmup, consider just walking and focusing on your breathing for 30 minutes.

Big inhales and big exhales while you walk can help you de-stress and unwind. When combined with an easy day of training, they can help you recover. Adding these types of recovery days to your training later in the week can promote much better performances on your remaining workouts -- especially if your next few workouts are rather challenging and require near personal-best efforts, such as a competition, a race or even a military PT test.

Not everyone in the fitness world will understand this methodology. In fact, when I told a few people what I did the other day, one looked at me as if I should be adding items to the list. The other pulled his head back and said, "Nice -- that is a good recovery day."

The two-mile workout is for anyone. The only difference is in what you call it and how you use it.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to stew@stewsmith.com.

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