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I remember back in the 90s when my mom would go “power walking” after dinner and I would be in awe. I would try to tag along and pump my arms fast like her, but all I wanted to do was run. Here is the deal–walking is totally the new running. Although running as a recreational sport has grown tremendously in the last several years, and due to overall expenditure, burns a ton of calories, walking is a legit form of exercise beauties. So if you prefer a brisk walk over a heart-pumping run then this is for you.

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1. Have A Better Heart From The Start

In a recent Runners and Walkers Health Study, when it came to the risk of heart disease, walkers reduced their risk more than runners. For instance, runners reduced their risk of heart disease by about 4.5 percent if they ran an hour a day and walkers who expended the same amount of energy per day reduced their risk of heart disease by more than 9 percent.

2. Grab Some Eats Then Hit The Streets

Not only will your heart appreciate your daily stroll, but your waistline will too. An after-meal walk may help lower blood sugar, suggests a new study from the Mayo College of Medicine in Rochester, MN. Post-mealtime walking can nearly double insulin sensitivity and aids in digestion by speeding food through your gastrointestinal tract. So yeah, take on a whole new meaning of “dining and ditching” by taking a little stroll after you eat ladies.

3. Create Meditation On Location

Walk it off. Literally. When we walk we think and since walking doesn’t require too much brain power it’s an excellent way to redirect our thoughts. By regaining a sense of calm and perspective walking can help us work through problems, come up with ideas, replay conversations and discover solutions. So before you feel like your top’s about to blow off, walk it off.

4. Strengthen Your Body, Strengthen Your Relationships

Speaking of letting off steam, walking is great for strengthening your relationships too ladies. Due to technology and modern times we are talking to each other less and less, therefore walking is a great way to invite human connection back to the party. In fact, couples who set aside time to walk together communicate better overall. Even folks in the workforce and education are using walking to communicate by having walking meetings and walking student teacher conferences.

5. A Walk/Run Is Fun

Both walking and running are great forms of physical activity and when done in concert the benefits can be miraculous. For instance the popular Couch-to-5K ® Running Plan has helped thousands get in shape by adopting a walk/run approach to fitness. Miles are miles and how you clock them is somewhat irrelevant. Running for a specific amount of time followed by walking is a great way to condition for full-on running. Many races even encourage this by not having a specific end time requirement–you basically finish when you finish. So sign up for that 10K even if you think you can’t run the entire thing.

6. Amp Up The “Dread”mill

Clocking miles on a treadmill may or may not be your cup of tea, but I have come across some RAD options that can instantly amp up your treadmill (or “dread”mill) workouts. First up, if you are looking for a home gym treadmill then you must check out the Nautilus® T614. Making it’s debut this fall, this treadmill comes with 22 workout programs so gone are the days of trying to figure out “how to sweat.” Plus the StrikeZone™ cushioning system provides unbelievable smooth comfort. Speaking of smooth, another rockstar treadmill popping up in Equinox fitness clubs worldwide is the Woodway Curve. It is completely manual. That’s right, no motor, no buttons, no electricity whatsoever. The power comes from you the athlete and the result – a 30 percent increase in metabolic expenditure. This means you’ll burn way more calories.

7. Sleep Deep

Having trouble getting in that beauty rest beauties? Well, walk this way! Early morning walks have been shown to promote better night’s sleep simply because of the connection with nature that they provide. Natural light stimulates the brain and aids in resetting the body’s clock. Also, since walking helps with digestion, in the event that you have a late night dinner and take a stroll after you are more likely to feel less bloated once you hit the hay.

8. Step To The Beat: Spring Moves

If you love that new JHud album then you are going to love the new app Spring Moves. Think a personalized workout radio that matches your cadence to a musical beat. Designed to create a unique workout experience, Spring Moves focuses on elements such as tempo (beats per minute), mood, and beat intensity – all which are proven to basic principles in fitness. Now, it is just fun. In fact, a recent study showed that time to exhaustion was 18 percent longer in treadmill exercisers listening to synchronous music when compared to no music at all. Plus, the app features a social support element called “Spring Crews” in which users can create small support groups with friends and family to share statistics and to support each other via gratification and validation. Check out this free app on the iTunes App Store or at springmoves.com.

9. Every FitGirl Walkers Sole Mate: Ryka

Okay, so now that you are ready to get your stroll on the last stop is fitness fashion. My friends over at Ryka have perfected the FitGirl walking game and I absolutely adore the Women’s Devotion Walking Shoe. Voted the best for “All-Day Comfort” by Prevention magazine this pillow-soft cushioned shoe is perfect for those late night strolls, early morning brisk walks or just everyday travel.

Robbie Ann Darby (RAD Experience) is a professional FitGirl, Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer in NYC. Follow her sweaty life on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for more fun health and fitness tips!

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