Why walking is one of the best exercises
10 May, 2022
Daily walking has become popular post-pandemic.
Once upon a time, it was one of the only activities we could do to leave the house, and now, many people have adopted this leisurely form of exercise into their daily routine.
Whilst walking may seem quite easy, it’s actually a super powerful form of exercise that brings about immense health benefits.
How much should we walk a day?
Lots of the advice you read will tell you that you should complete around 10,000 steps a day. However, because adults spend lots of time behind a computer, this can get difficult.
Therefore, the Vic Government recommends a more realistic guideline of 30 minutes of walking a day, most days of the week.
There are always ways to add walking into your daily routine. You may choose to walk to work, walk on your lunch break, or even use a standing desk, so you can casually march whilst you work.
What happens if I can’t walk for 30 minutes a day?
If you don’t get your 30 minutes a day, this is not a cause for concern. Even squeezing in a 15 minute walk to the shops is a great effort. As long as you’re moving, your body will thank you.
Health benefits of daily walks
Walking is a great way to become healthier and stronger. It’s especially great for people who dislike vigorous physical activity, as walking can be quite leisurely. Walking is also a great form of mindfulness, and allows you to feel moments of calm amidst busy work days.
Walking also releases lots of endorphins, making it great for mood improvement. This is why lots of people diagnosed with anxiety and depression are often prescribed walking as a form of therapy.
Whilst some people may think that walking is not as effective as more vigorous forms of exercise, studies have actually shown the opposite. The results from a large study comparing walkers and runners demonstrated that moderate-intensity walking had very similar long-term health benefits to vigorous intensity running. This is great news for people who dislike vigorous physical activity, as they can still receive an array of health benefits from going on a moderate-intensity daily walk.
Additional health benefits of daily walks include:
- Increased overall fitness
- Increased bone strength
- Increased muscle tone
- Fat loss – if weight loss is your goal
- Increased muscular endurance
- Walking can be very low impact, making it a great form of exercise for people with knee and ankle problems.
- Reduced likelihood of developing serious conditions, such as diabetes and cancer.
- Reduced risk of heart disease
- Better sleep quality
Tips to make walking more exciting
Sometimes, it can be difficult to motivate yourself to walk. Here are some tips to make walking more exciting:
Walk with a friend – whether it be a person or a furry friend
Studies have shown that exercising with someone, or in groups, is more motivating than exercising alone
Walking with friends can also increase the amount of walking you do in a day. There is no better feeling than going for a walk with your friend and unintentionally walking for two hours.
Pop on some music or a podcast
Music is also a powerful motivator for exercise. Studies have found that walking with music increases the walkers pace, allowing them to obtain greater health benefits.
Podcasts are also a great motivator, as much like walking with a friend, listening to a podcast can make a one hour walk feel like a 15 minute walk. If you’re listening to a good podcast and your walk is almost over, chances are that you’ll want to do one more lap around the block.
Walking games and apps
There are many walking apps, where walking in real life impacts your progress on the app.
The Walk is a fantastic app for those who need some extra motivation. The app gives you a mission to save the world, but the only way you can do so is by walking the entire length of the UK. The game also has accompanying audio, which will really immerse you in the quest at hand.
Apps such as The Walk can help motivate you to take your daily steps.
You can also create your own walking games by setting yourself daily step limits to beat. This is a fun and easy way to challenge yourself if you’re not a fan of app-based games.
Choosing new places to walk
Sometimes, walking the same route every day gets boring. That’s why it’s great to spice it up. Get creative with your walking tracks, and try to take yourself on a new adventure each time you walk.
Walking is a super powerful form of exercise, and only 30 minutes of walking is required to provide you with great health benefits. Once you start walking regularly, you may surprise yourself with the amount of steps you achieve a day.
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