If you guessed walking, ding, ding, ding … you’re right. Walking has the lowest dropout rate because it’s the easiest, least complicated, and most accessible way to get physical activity.
Walking is also one of the most effective forms of physical exercise, too, if you walk at a good clip and can devote enough time to it. The best thing about walking, I think, is you can do it anywhere, anytime, with no expense except for a good pair of shoes.
Yes, in the winter, you need to bundle up with the right type of clothing and perhaps a pair of boots or at least shoes with ice cleats to prevent falling. But it’s still very affordable and easy to do.
But it’s always good to walk or exercise with someone else. In fact, an American Heart Association study says American adults are 76 percent more likely to take a walk if another person is counting on them.
So, the association announced today it has created Walking Clubs so you can connect with others who share your goals, lifestyle and schedules. You can join an existing Walking Club or form your own by visiting www.mywalkingclub.org. Click on “learn more.” Then sign up by filling out the online form and select if you’d like to start a club or join a club. Or you can change your mind and switch, too.
Nothing against fitness facilities, but the Heart Association says that 45 percent of members will quit going to the facility in a given year and 30 percent will cancel their membership. If you continue going, facilities are a great way, too, to get guidance from trained professionals, learn something new from classes or just exercise with others.
Whatever you do, the point is to keep it up, especially in the winter months.
If you cut back or stop exercising for weeks or months, much of the gains made over the rest of the year will be lost. Then it’s that much harder to get back into it and, if necessary, lose weight you gained or regain your fitness level.
It’s sad, but only 15 percent of American adults achieve the association’s recommended level of moderate aerobic exercise — 150 minutes per week. That’s only 2 ½ hours a week. But that’s really a minimum. It’s better to devote more time than that, if possible.
If you join a group or at least commit to walking or doing exercise with a friend, you’ll be much more likely to keep it up.
Sound-off: How often do you walk? If not, why aren’t you consistent?