In this day and age, especially within the last 12 months, the need for physically getting around has reduced dramatically for most people. People would regularly walk to their car, walk to the shops, walk to get a coffee and lunch at the office etc.. Now this has been restricted which has limited us from getting the many benefits walking offers that go beyond just the physical benefits. Now that most of our daily lives are spent working from the comfort of our own home we have gone back to moving a lot less than previously.
What are the benefits of walking?
- Evolutionary, we are designed to walk, we are better at it than any other species on earth
- Increased cardiovascular fitness (taking good care of our heart)
- Improves glucose (sugar) and insulin sensitivity (big advantage for someone is is type 2 diabetic)
- It’s low impact on our bones, yet it helps develop and maintain bone health
- Walking promotes the pumping of healthy blood flow to our joints around the body. This can aid in our recovery between workouts
- It can be done anywhere and anytime; it’s always available to us.
- It improves our self perception and self esteem
- It can become a form of meditation when focusing on each foot striking the ground, listening to the rustling of the leaves and noticing the breeze against your body
- It boosts cognitive function, memory, creativity, attention and processing speed
Fun fact: Physically active people have up to a 30% reduced risk of depression.
What are some ways to incorporate more walking?
- Start your morning off with a walk
- It’s a great way to get blood flow and movement first thing in the morning after being stationary from sleeping for 6+ hours
- You get morning sunlight which greatly influences what is called our ‘circadian rhythm’ – our wake sleep cycle. If you have trouble sleeping, this may help, especially walking in the evening when the sunsets.
- Include short walks after a meal
- This will also help with digestion and insulin sensitivity
- Listening to music, podcasts or having a chat on the phone? Take it outside and get some steps
- Park further away from the station or shops
- Include the family when possible, this can be great for bonding while getting some physical activity.
Want to set a daily goal?
Try walk 30-60 minutes per day at a brisk pace
This can be split up into 3 walks per day, such as Morning – 20 minutes, Midday – 20 minutes , Evening – 20 minutes
Personally, I walk between 1-2 hours every day as it’s a form of meditation, I get to listen to my favourite podcasts, I get some vitamin D from the sun, but most importantly I enjoy it and it’s just part of my daily routine. I have for a long time; rain, hail or shine.