How Walking to Get Fit Can Boost Your Mental and Physical Health
Do you want to get fit, but don't have the time or money for expensive walking programs?
It's possible that walking is the perfect workout for you!
Walking is an activity that people often underestimate, but it remains a fantastic way to get outside and be active
Incorporating some form of walking into your daily routine or adding a walk to the end of the day can yield several health benefits, not just for you but also for your mind and your social life.
A walking routine can not only improve the quality of physical movement, it also releases endorphins and serotonin – both chemicals which can elevate moods and reduce stress levels.
Walking has been shown to reduce anxiety by up to 65% in some cases!
People who walk outside are less likely to feel as much stress and anxiety, which can lead to better mental health overall.
Boosts your mood
One of the amazing things about walking is that it can allow our minds a few moments of peace/relaxation without having to work on the many tasks we complete in any given day.
However brief, this can be hugely beneficial and make a significant change in our mental state throughout the day.
There is even some scientific evidence to support the idea that walking boosts our mood.
As with any physical activity, walking releases endorphins through our body, which are known to improve our mood and reduce stress.
As you walk, your body begins to produce dopamine and serotonin as well - both of which are brain chemicals that are designed to not only improve our mood but also help with depression.
Helps bring stress and anxiety levels down
During exercise, our endorphins are released and they have a positive effect on our stress levels.
Time spent walking outside can also lower the risk of clinical depression while spending more time surrounded by nature is proven to reduce stress levels.
Promotes body confidence
The idea of walking being the perfect workout for almost everyone is not only backed up by scientific facts, but it also captures its mass appeal.
People who are looking to introduce more fitness into their lives without over-stressing themselves will find no better place to start than with walking.
Believe it or not, walking regularly over time offers many of the same benefits as more high-intensity training!
Boosts energy levels
This may come as a surprise to you but walking will help to contribute to your energy levels long-term.
Regular walking helps the body by promoting blood flow through the veins and will also improve muscle growth.
Promotes better sleep
Exercise is key to improving sleep patterns as it allows our bodies to regulate these better.
It both benefits from the additional energy-expenditure but is also likely to have an effect on stress levels and anxiety, ie some of the things that can keep you awake at night and is one of the reasons walking can be an excellent exercise for those suffering from some sleep disorders.
Boosts social interactions
Over the past 18 months, it has been proven to be essential for everyone's wellbeing to be socially engaged and connected, and many of us have recognised that walking with friends or family is a fun and easy way to get fit.
It allows everyone a little bit of low-intensity exercise while also giving you an excuse to spend time outdoors with family and friends.
It may even be an opportunity to socialise - in recent times, many of us have taken up walking not only for the exercise and fresh air but also to meet new people and check in with others that, not only are you OK but, so are they...
Allows for better focus
If you are struggling with a problem at work or in your personal life, try heading out for a walk to clear your mind and get a new perspective on your situation.
There is just something about walking (whether outside or even inside) that releases a kind of valve and lets your thoughts wander whilst the blood rushes around your body - it allows you to feel that little bit of freedom of movement whilst planning your future/what you're doing at the weekend/what's for dinner!
...Wait... what about the physical health benefits?
Walking is a great low-impact exercise that will help to tone your muscles, improve your cardiovascular health and burn fat whilst walking.
You can also add weights or work out with an app like Nike Training Club which has walking workouts for all levels of fitness!
- Strengthens the heart; walking gets the blood pumping around your body, which strengthens and tones muscles in your heart.
- Improves cardiovascular health; walking will get you breathing faster thus improving your circulation
- Burns fat whilst walking; burns calories even when it's slow-paced!
- Can help lower your blood sugar - As your muscles work harder, they burn through more sugar. This can lower your blood sugar level and make the insulin in your body work better.
- Eases joint pain and boosts immune function - walking can help get your lymphatic system moving, which will work to fight off illness.
The benefits of walking are pretty clear - it is an awesome great way to boost your physical and mental health, while also being an activity that lets you enjoy a bit of gentle exercise whilst blowing away the cobwebs!
If you want to improve your mood, reduce stress, increase energy levels or lose weight, then now is the time to start!
There are so many ways that integrating walking into your life will help make you feel better about yourself.
It may take some practice but if you stick with it for at least 30 minutes per day for six weeks, these changes should become permanent.
Walking has been shown to have a positive effect on just about every aspect of our lives—and best yet? You don't need any special equipment or training in order to reap its rewards!
So what do you say?
Is this something worth pursuing?
Let's get those walking shoes on and go!