One of the best exercises you can do on a regular basis is walking.
It’s a great way to take a few minutes for yourself, get outside
and breathe some fresh air. I love to head out and walk, or do a
combination of running and walking (such as intervals), for 45
minutes to an hour, at least three to four times per week.
You don’t have to do that much to reap the benefits. If you only
have time, or stamina, for 15 or 20 minutes, you should still go
I used to think that walking was too “low key” to benefit me. I
put all of my time and effort, aerobic-wise, into running or riding
the stationary bike.
One summer, I did some volunteer work in Costa Rica. We were working
in a small town called Los Tornos, near the Monteverde region up in
the central mountains. (If you’ve been to Costa Rica, you’ve probably
been to Monteverde.)
Most of our work was done outdoors. We did a lot of walking (up and
down hills) and took most of our meals outdoors as well.
About halfway through the trip, I realized that I felt fantastic.
I figured out it was the combination of clean, clear mountain air;
walking a lot every day; and being outdoors most of the time,
surrounded by incredible natural beauty, rather than cooped up in
Prior to the trip, I had been worried about my conditioning levels
falling off. I had a fight coming up within 4 weeks of returning
(talk about bad timing!). And, given our schedule, I knew I would
not have time to work out.
Well, when I arrived home, I was in better shape than ever. I was
able to run longer, lift more, spar more rounds — I felt like a new
This sold me on the benefits of doing a lot of walking in the
fresh air – especially walking up and down hilly terrain.
You can take your walking up a notch by doing it the “deep breathing”
In the Secret Power of Dynamic Energy Exercise Course, Volume 1:
Invigorate & Rejuvenate ,
I teach a method of complete breathing that you can use to maximize
the benefit you receive from aerobic types of exercise, such as
walking, running, biking, etc.
A simple cadence to follow is to inhale through your nose for a count
of 4; hold for a count of 2; exhale through your nose for a count o
f 6; hold for 2; then repeat.
Breathe into and out of your lower abdomen. Picture and feel your
lungs filling up, then emptying out, completely as you cycle through
Try to inhale and exhale through your nose as long as possible. In
fact, if you are beginning an exercise program, breathe through your
nose only. If you start to have trouble doing this, slow down your
pace until you recover.
If you are already fit, or have been walking for awhile, you can
enhance the effects of your walking by adding hills into the mix.
I follow a very hilly course here near my house, with rolling but
mostly descending terrain heading down towards the lake, then
some steep, long hills for the last third or so heading back up
the hills to the house.
If hills alone aren’t enough for you, or if you are progressing
in your conditioning, you can charge up the hills at a fast
pace for even more lung and stamina-inducing power.
If you are really working the hills, you will naturally get out of
breath and need to pant through your mouth. The key is to regain
control and return to nose breathing as quickly as possible.
You can apply the same method to your running, biking, or any
aerobic activity, for that matter. In fact, nose breathing is used
by some elite trainers when working with their clients.
It really forces you to maximize the use of your lungs. In return,
you get even more out of your walk or run than ever before.
You Can Do It!
P.S. Another important benefit of walking with deep breathing is
that it heats up your metabolism way more than just plain old
everyday walking. If you’d like to lose some weight, this is a
great way to start.