The crazy thing is, that we are all told to get moving more, so naturally we think that we should go to a gym, do some exercise and lift some weights but what if I told you that one of the best exercises you can do is free, low impact and something that we all take for granted? That it’s so simple that you will think why did I not think of that? That to be fit and healthy I must run fast and lift heavy?
Let me answer those in reverse order:
That to be fit and healthy I must run fast and lift heavy? No. To get fit and healthy you do not need to do those things, especially not straight away and also depends on how fit and strong you want to get but start off slow and work your way up. There are loads of benefits to start walking.
Why did I not think of that? We are in such a hurry with our lives that we do not think to walk anywhere, people even get in their cars to drive less than a mile away because it’s quicker… that’s why you do not think to walk anywhere. It’s soooo simple and easy that we just think it’s not doing anything, that we must be beasting ourselves all the time, well that is again not true. If we walked 30 minutes everyday we would see our lives change for the better.
Improve your mood:
So you’ve had a stressful day at work, you’ve walked through the door and boom, opened a bottle of wine or beer, or raided the treats cupboard and eaten some chocolate or crisps to make you feel better. We’ve all been there.
Well going for a 30 minute walk is gives the mind and body the same benefits. Regular walking actually benefits your nervous system that you’ll experience a decrease in anger and frustration. Add in the fact that you can make those walks a social event, go for a walk with your partner, neighbour, a friend or even your kids (it’ll help them burn off some energy before bed), but the interaction will make you feel more… connected which in turn boosts your mood. Being outdoors also exposes you to natural sunlight, this can help to combat the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Time to think:
Walking allows us time to think, to work though our thoughts and to process them to try to find a solution. When I went through my change of career and trying to decide my best course of action, it was while I was out walking that I made my decision. It hit me like a sledgehammer and the feeling I felt once I had made my decision, was amazing. Sitting at home just made me feel like I was going round in circles, not getting anywhere and stressing about what to do. It wasn’t until I actually went for a walk that things started to flow. So going for that walk can spark creativity and get the mind working.
Clothes will start to fit better or loosen up:
Over time you’ll notice that your jeans will become loose around the waist, even though your weighing scales may have hardly moved. A benefit of getting moving more regularly will be how your body deals with insulin and will help reduce that belly fat. Walking every day is one of the most effective low-impact ways to shift fat and positively alter body composition. It’ll help increase your metabolism by burning extra calories and also prevent muscle loss, which is so important as we get older. If you start walking as much as possible you could see your body fat percentage go down in just one month.
Help to reduce the chances of chronic disease:
Getting out and walking can help you to lower your blood sugar levels and your overall risk of diabetes. IT’s been found that regular walking may reduce your chances of a stroke by 20% and in some people up to 40% and that’s not all. If walking at a moderate pace for 30 minutes, 5 times a week that it can lower the rick of cardiovascular disease by a 30% when compared with people who do not get out and walk regularly.
Keep your legs looking good:
Another down side of getting older, is our risk of varicose veins appearing but walking can help combat this. The venous system includes a circulatory section known as ‘the second heart’ which is formed of muscles, veins and vales located in our calf and foot. This is the system that helps push the blood back up our body and to the heart and lungs. Walking strengthens this secondary system by strengthening and preserving leg muscle, which boosts your healthy blood flow. If you are already suffering with varicose veins, then getting out and walking daily can help to ease swelling and restlessness.
Talking of flow, regular walking can greatly improve your gastric mobility thus making things more regular. Walking utilises the core and abdominal muscles, encouraging that… movement.
So there you have it, why you should get out and walk more. Next time you think I’ll just pop to the shops, instead of getting in your car, walk. If you live only a couple of miles away from work, walk there and back. I know that it seems easier to get in a car and drive everywhere but by walking you are benefiting yourself, you’ll feel better because of it and once you get into a routine, you’ll find that you will be more likely to continue and then take on new healthy behaviors.
I’m not telling you to go smash out a marathon or do anything crazy, I’m just saying get out and walk more, start with a short distance, and build it up. Remember these feet are made for walking…