Walking does not get enough credit. Yes, it’s a simple action that gets us from one place to another, so it’s easy to underestimate its benefits. Us modern humans don’t get enough movement in our lives - we go from waking, to eating, to sitting in a car, to our offices. Some of us might spend an hour at the gym. But that is not enough to combat all the sitting we done all day. Walking might not seem like much, and it certainly shouldn’t replace your usual workout, but it should add to it.
If you’re a movement newbie, then start slow, maybe with just 2,500 steps a day! Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a start. Then when you’re consistently hitting those steps, raise it to 5,000, then 7,000 then 10,000 (approximately eight kilometers - it’s not that far really, about an hour and 40 minutes) and see if you can do even more! It doesn’t even need to be a dedicated hour-long walk!
Get yourself a pedometer and you’ll notice that you can get your steps by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, by walking that short distance instead of taking the car, and even by doing housework. But if you remain unconvinced here are six reasons you should walk more this year!
It’s a form of meditation
If you don’t have the time to sit for a meditation, combine both walking and meditation and get double the benefit! You can either do the formal walking meditation or just wander about and let your mind tune out from all the chatter of the day. And it is also a great way to listen to podcasts, audiobooks and other mind-expanding materials. Whether you use it as a meditation or as mind nourishment, you will feel better either way.
It reduces stress
By now we all know just how destructive stress can be on our systems, so why not work to reduce it by adding walking to our daily lives? Research has shown that walking in forest reduces stress, but in case you can’t find a luscious forest, a park or just around your neighbourhood will do too!
Improves blood glucose after meals
Just a quick 15-minute walk after meals improved the blood glucose levels in older people with poor glucose tolerance. So maybe next time, instead of driving over to your favourite restaurant for lunch, walk over and back!
It can moderately reduce fat
Walking shouldn’t be your only form of exercise (though, if you do nothing else but walking, it’s still better than nothing). Walking alone certainly isn’t going to build your strength and get you ripped. But it can help you to lose some body fat. In fact, going for a walk right after a meal has been shown to aid weight loss.
It gives you space to think
Walking is also a great way to just think things through. I have a friend who goes for long walks every time he has to mull things over. It’s best to go on a route that we already know so that we can just focus on thinking instead of wondering where we are or being distracted by safety. Our minds need this flush so it has space for new things.
It keeps your butt working
Sitting too much causes glute inactivation and atrophy! Yeah, nobody wants a flat, flabby butt. Walking the right way keeps your butt working! Just make sure you can feel your glutes moving as you walk. Put your hands on your butt as you take a step. You know you’re doing it right if you can feel your glutes tense and gives a little ‘pushback’ as you take a step.
So many benefits to walking! I really hope we can all add more movement to our daily lives this year. Enjoy!