Walking is one of the most accessible forms of exercise and has huge health benefits even when done in small quantities. When walking at a moderate intensity the benefits are as effective as jogging. It’s more gentle on your joints too, so great for people of all ages and physical abilities. Both your mental and physical health benefit from walking more and once you get into the habit of it, taking time out of your day for a walk is really easy.
While walking might feel like a mild form of exercise, it has great physical benefits. It’s a form of cardio, meaning it can help to reduce your risk of heart disease and strokes. The Stroke Association states that just 30 minutes of moderate activity five days a week can reduce your risk of stroke by over 25%. A brisk 30-minute walk every day can help to boost your circulation and increase oxygen supply to your cells, giving you great benefits such as more energy and even healthier-looking skin. Walking even boosts your immune system and gets you outdoors, providing you the opportunity to get some much needed Vitamin D.
Other physical health benefits include:
- Lowering your blood pressure and cholestoeral levels
- Reducing your risk of health problems like heart disease and type 2 diabetes
- Helping you lose weight if you need to, and maintain a healthy weight
- Increasing muscle strength and flexibility
Going on a walk can do wonders for clearing your mind on a hectic day, but it’s not just beneficial for the occasional one-off to unwind. Being active regularly brings along with it a range of mental wellbeing benefits. It improves self-perception and self-esteem, mood and quality of sleep, while also reducing stress, anxiety and fatigue.
Physically active people have up to a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed. It stimulates the release of body chemicals called endorphins, which act as natural painkillers, reduce stress and produces feelings of wellbeing.
Getting into the habit of walking
The best way to get into the habit of doing something is to stay consistent, and to stay consistent you need to choose something that’s attainable. If you’re new to walking, start slowly with a quick 10-minute walk every day and gradually increase how much you’re doing each week. You also need to consider your routine and where you can fit a walk in, there’s no point trying to walk for an hour each day if that’s not feasible. If it becomes inconvenient, you’re more likely to stop.
Some easy ways to help you incorporate walking into your day are:
- Taking a walk before work if you’re working from home and no longer commuting
- Walking to work, the station or bus stop if you need to travel to your place of work
- Using your lunch break for a walk
- Going to the shops on foot rather than taking the car
- Setting up a scheduled walk time with somebody else to help you stick to it
- Listening to something while you walk, such as music or podcasts
- Setting yourself a daily step goal and tracking your steps
Improve your health and wellbeing by walking more
Going on a short walk every day can help improve both your physical and mental health. Once you’re in the routine having your daily walk is easy and you’ll enjoy the time outdoors to clear your mind and get your body moving.
If you’re looking for more ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine, read our blog for 5 ways you can stay active while at work.