Updated: Oct 10, 2019
It’s fun, relaxing, and most important it’s good for your health. You can do it indoors on the treadmill at the gym or with no equipment and get a dose of essential vitamin D outdoors with your mama friends. There are so many reasons to go for a walk, but what exactly are the health benefits of walking?
Walking Gets You Outside In The Fresh Air
No matter how fast or slow you walk, walking gets you outside and in the fresh air. This alone will make you feel better as your body absorbs the oxygen and sunshine. Both are important for your health and well-being. Remember to BREATHE.
Choose the setting to walk in carefully. If you go for a walk along the Brisbane river, a sandy beach or in a state park, the fresh air will be much better than the air inside your house or the recycled air con of the gym. breathe that goodness in!
Walking on the uneven surface of sand or park trails also adds an element of balance and working those stabiliser muscles deeper than you would on the street or steady surface of a treadmill. And of course, the fresh air and sunshine will help your body absorb all the Vitamin D it needs.
Walking Helps Maintain A Healthy Weight
Walking daily at a brisk pace can help you lose weight and then maintain that healthy weight. Yes, you still need to watch what you eat and aim for a healthy diet, but walking can be another tool to help you drop those extra kilos. It is especially good if you have just had a baby or are returning to fitness after some time off. You don't need any special equipment other than a pair of good walking shoes and your smartphone to have something motivating to listen to, or to perhaps track your walks on a fitness app. Find one here or here.
The good thing about walking if you have a lot of excess weight to lose, is that you burn a lot of calories, even on short and slow walks, simply because you’re naturally carrying extra weight around with you. As you start to lose the weight, your overall strength and endurance will begin to increase, helping you to walk longer, further, and faster. I recommend you start small, a block or two depending on your starting fitness level. Master the 1-2 blocks, then add another. This is where an app is good to track your calories burned and heart rate. Keep adding distance every few days (if walking daily), or each week. Also bump up the intensity when your distance feels less challenging. This will see the best results.
Walking Improves Balance & Coordination
Practice makes perfect. That's how our little ones master walking, but as adults we can still benefit in the same way. As you walk, particularly when walking over rougher terrain, you end up working on your sense of balance and coordination. As I mentioned above, uneven surfaces such as the beach sand or rocky trails effectively work those stabiliser muscles that support the larger muscles of your legs. This gives you a more even workout and works the muscles used on a deeper level than even, flat surfaces.
Just getting in the habit of going for a daily walk can do wonders no matter your age or fitness level. If you are returning to fitness, you can work on your sense of balance by moving your head around. Gently turn your head to the right and left as you walk for a count of 30. Then gently move your head up and down for a count of 30. This is a smooth, slow movement. Attempt it with control. Once you can do this successfully, have a little fun with it. Listen to a good dance track and add a few dance moves into your walking. If you add these simple exercises in as you walk each day, you'll reap even more benefit from getting out there.
Walking Strengthens Bones & Muscles
Even though walking is a low impact form of exercise it helps to strengthen and tone your body. You can sculpt your legs and upper body simply through a walking program. If you’re just starting out, it can be all you need to start to get into better shape. Just make a commitment to get out there every day for 20 minutes. if that seems too much, start with 10 minutes and work your way up to 20, then 30 minutes. Break your walks up into two 15 minute walks. There are no hard and fast rules, just get moving! As you become fitter, consider adding weight lifting exercises in addition to your daily walks to continue to get stronger and help develop strong muscles and bones. Need support, click here.
Walking Boosts Your Mood & Fights Depression
The secret mood booster. Walking has been proven to release natural endorphins that can lift your mood and can even reduce the dark symptoms of anxiety and depression. Its an energy shift and provides more oxygen to the brain helping shift cognitive function into a more positive space. Don't knock it until your try it.
Drive to the beach and let the wind blow away your worries as you walk. Listen to a uplifting podcast or some high energy dance music. Go where your soul feel rejuvenated. For me that has always been the beach, but for you that might be the hinterlands, a loca bush walk or just a public park that has beautiful landscaping. Nature is such a therapeutic tonic for us as humans, and bets of all its 100% free for us to access!
As a teen suffered bouts of anxiety and depression from a hormone imbalance. I know when those dark clouds or worrisome emotions get the better of you, the last thing you feel like it getting active, BUT I promise you, if you can push through and go anyway, you'll thank me.
The next time you’re feeling tired or are in a bad mood, lace up your kicks and go for a brisk walk. I promise you, it works like a charm!
Are you confused on what to do to lose the stubborn baby fat? Confused on reading nutrition labels? Want to get more organised with fitness plan and meal prep? Let me help you sort it all out...book a FREE 15 minute Discovery session!