Walking became the ultimate method of exercising during the Covid lockdowns, and almost three years on, it’s safe to say the trend is here to stay. Walking is an accessible, affordable and enjoyable way to incorporate movement into your day. It is a simple form of exercise that can increase cardiovascular fitness and improve your overall health. Low impact and without the risks that high intensity exercise has, walking is suitable for a wide variety of people regardless of fitness level or age.
Walking can also be a great way to take a break from work, ground yourself in nature, get some fresh air and some vitamin D. It has the ability to not only provide benefits to your physical health, but also your mental health.
Benefits of walking
As mentioned earlier, walking is a form of cardiovascular fitness that has a number of benefits for your body. Walking can:
Increase cardiovascular (heart and lung) fitness
Strengthen bones and muscles therefore reducing the risk of osteoporosis
Reduce risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease
Improve your balance and coordination which can reduce the risk of falls
In terms of mental health, walking can also provide an array of benefits, including:
Help release endorphins that improve your overall mood as well as reduce stress and anxiety
Increases blood flow which helps us feel more energised
Regular walking and exercise can encourage better sleep patterns
Walking can also be a great way to socialise and meet up with friends, which can have added benefits. A sense of connection can not only reduce feelings of loneliness but also contributes to brain health via stimulation of attention and memory.
How to create a walking routine that is enjoyable
Walking just 30 minutes a day at a brisk speed is recommended. However, if this is too much to start with, try just 10 minutes at 3 different points in the day. If walking on a treadmill, try an incline to make it more difficult and replicate realistic terrain. Most people can fit 30 minutes of daily exercise into their routine, however if you’re finding this difficult, build walking into your daily routine by opting for the stairs instead of the elevator or walking to the shops instead of driving. Walking can become monotonous, so we have listed some tips to make your walk more enjoyable!
1. Bring a friend
Bringing a friend on your walk kills two birds with one stone! You are getting your daily dose of exercise whilst also catching up and building on your friendship. Not only this, but walking with a friend also helps pass the time and you'll walk kms without even realising!
2. Listen to a podcast or music
A podcast can provide you with company if a friend is unable to join you. Starting your day with a walk and self-development podcast or just a podcast that you enjoy is a great way to set yourself up for a productive day and get you motivated. If podcasts aren’t your thing, listen to some music, something upbeat might even make you walk faster!
3. Change up the scenery
Walking around your neighbourhood every day can be a little demotivating. Try changing up where you walk each day or opt for a more interesting route like an esplanade or somewhere with a view.
4. Make the most of a sunny day
There’s nothing quite like going for a walk on a sunny day and getting your vitamin D all while moving your body. Reconnecting with nature and getting outside on your walk can help reduce stress and calm your nerves, so a morning walk is a great way to start your day if you have a stressful or nerve wracking day ahead!
Walking is a low impact form of exercise that has been particularly popular since the pandemic
It has physiological as well as mental health benefits
Creating an enjoyable walking routine is key to developing a habit
We have created 4 tips to help make your walks more enjoyable