Even though walking is simple, free and tends to require no special training, it’s often overlooked as a form of exercise. Running, yoga and the gym get all the credit, and while they’re all great health-boosting activities, it doesn’t mean walking should be forgotten! Going for a walk is a good way to be more active and get healthier. And it’s not just about the calorie burn either. As well as your physical health, walking is good for mental health too.
Heading outside for a walk everyday has been proven to be good for mental health. It doesn’t matter if you’re walking to work, the shops or through your local park, it’s a great way to get some headspace and to let go of any stress the day might have brought you. Walking has long been established to be a great form of exercise that releases endorphins to help clear the cobwebs before or after a long day at home or at work.
Walking is good for stress, anxiety, fatigue and is known to improve mental wellbeing overall. It is a brilliant way to forget the day’s stresses, whether you spend most of your time at home or at work. Just ten minutes of walking a day can improve self-esteem and boost your mood. Feeling good about yourself is great for your productivity in all aspects of your life. It gives you confidence, energy and helps with motivation. That feeling that you can do just anything often starts with a kick and a step in the morning!
The benefits walking can have on your mental health will also lead to better relationships with your partner, kids, friends and any other loved ones. Evidence suggests people who regularly walk have fewer “bad mental health days” compared to people who don’t exercise at all. While it’s not a replacement for therapy or treatment, physical activity like walking can be a brilliant low-pressure way to take the edge off.
Evidence shows that just 10 minutes of brisk walking a day is great as part of the NHS recommended 150 minutes of exercise a week. Whether you’re incredibly active, or new to the game and just trying to be more active this year—heading outside for a walk will have a positive impact.
Walking helps to build stamina. So even if you’re starting with 10 minutes of brisk walking a day, you’ll soon find yourself walking for longer over time. A few of us will still be thinking of ways to burn excess Christmas calories. This can be done by making walking a regular activity that you commit to.
You don’t even have to call it exercise, walking is one of those activities that can easily be made fun! Try listening to a new podcast and walking about for the whole episode. Listening to your favourite song or album is a great way to make walking interesting and to get your heart rate up. Research shows that walking or running along to a good, rhythmic beat can do brilliant things for endurance, stamina and enjoyment of exercise.
Walking with a friend or a loved one is another brilliant way to keep things interesting. It provides the perfect opportunity to tell each other stories, plan activities for yourselves or for the kids and strengthen your relationship with time well spent.
Whether you’re looking for physical, emotional or mental health benefits, going for a walk is a great way to get some.
This January, head out there and discover all the ways walking makes you healthier and happier!