When it comes to walking to get or stay fit, there are many benefits of walking.
THE BENEFITS OF WALKING
Walking every day is one of the easiest and healthiest things you can do for your body. It costs nothing to take a walk. You can do it anywhere, during any season, and in any weather.
Studies show that walking regularly lowers your risk of both heart disease and stroke. Walking gets your heart rate up and causes your body to burn calories. This, in turn, lowers your cholesterol level.
IMPROVED IMMUNE SYSTEM
Exercise such as walking causes our body to produce increased levels of several types of critical immune cells. Exposure to the sun also boosts our levels of vitamin D, which improves the performance of our immune systems as well as bone health.
While you may not think it’s true, walking is also good for your brain. Walking has been shown to have multiple cognitive benefits, including improved cognitive control, improved academic performance and a boost of creativity in young people. This boost in creativity is especially prominent when young people walk outdoors, as exposure to a natural setting is thought to stimulate creativity.
Seniors who walk regularly are also shown to have improved memory function.
Studies show that even moderate exercise such as a brisk walk causes our body to release endorphins – the neurotransmitter found in our brains that causes us to feel happiness and euphoria.
Walking regularly can stave off the negative effects of anxiety or stress. Establishing and sticking to a walking routine also gives you a sense of setting and completing goals, which can raise your self-esteem and leave you feeling more confident in yourself.
THE BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO A WALKING ROUTINE
Once you figure out what time/day/route is best for you, make sure you keep at it. It can be easy to slack off if you’re not careful. If you let yourself slip or decide to “take it easy” for a day, it can eventually lead to you dropping the walking routine altogether. Here are a couple of ways you can keep your walking routine engaging and fun.
Goals help you to structure your time and effort. They also give you something to work toward, which provides you with reason to push yourself. Achieving your goals also makes you feel accomplished, which leads to a boost to your self-esteem.
It’s best to start out small. For many new walkers, this means planning to walk for around fifteen to twenty minutes. While this may not seem like much walking, remember that it’s important to set goals that aren’t too hard to accomplish. If, once you go on your walk, twenty minutes doesn’t seem like enough, feel free to start out with a longer walk next time.
MIX IT UP
Walking in a new environment helps to keep walking fresh, even if you do it daily. This doesn’t mean that you have to travel far away in order to walk. If you plan on walking around your neighborhood, use a street map to plan out several different routes of the same length.
MAKE WALKING FUN
Consider one, two or all three of the following ideas to make walking fun.
The first one is utilizing a free app such as Charity Miles, to help others. This app keeps track of the distance you walk and donates 25 cents per mile to one of several charities. Charities include Autism Speaks, Habitat for Humanity and Pencils of Promise.
Geocaching has been around for quite some time. In the event you’ve never heard of it, think of it as a high-tech treasure hunt of sorts. In simple terms, you pick a local geocache that sounds like something you’d love to find, and use any GPS-enabled device to locate it.
Invite a friend to join you for a movie or an afternoon of shopping. If you live within walking distance, getting there is a no-brainer. If your destination is too far away to walk to it, drive part of the way, park somewhere and walk the rest of the way. If you’re shopping, think of the money you’ll save because you won’t want to be weighed down with shopping bags on your way back to your vehicle.
Remember, walking as a wonderful family activity. Getting everyone involved is probably easier than you think. It’s the perfect time to spend quality time together. In addition, it’s never too early to start thinking about good health. You can almost guarantee that if they start exercising early, your kids will thank you for getting them involved when they get older.
Honestly, there’s absolutely no better time than now to dust off your walking shoes and hit the trail, sidewalk, or even your driveway. Everyone has to start somewhere. You won’t know if you find it enjoyable until you try.
You can sign-up to get an email update each day. You can also connect with us on: