Take a Walk (or Many)

Take a Walk (or Many)

Ever since this pandemic people have been finding new ways to work out and create new routines for themselves. But pandemic or not, walking is really beneficial for your health in several ways. It’s easy to stay safe and maintain social distancing when you’re taking walks, so if you aren’t taking regular walks and spend a lot of your days cooped up at home, consider taking small breaks for your physical and mental health. Think about it as an act of self-care that you most likely deserve and need. 

There’s actually been a lot of research that’s been done about walking and what it can do for your body, so don’t just take my word for it. 

Walking can help combat high blood pressure, blood sugar, diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease. If you have any of those health issues, make sure you take care of them! Obviously, the more you walk (or run), the more calories you burn, and the more you’ll see positive results. Most people with office jobs have to be sedentary for many hours in their days. I’m sure you’ve heard how sitting for long periods during the day can really negatively impact your health (and have long term effects as well). For example, sitting for long hours will cause decreased blood flow. To counteract that, take walk breaks during the day (the longer the better).

Other than the fact that walking does burn calories, which is always a good thing, walking helps with lower back pain and knee osteoarthritis. So if you have chronic lower back pain (a lot of people do), get up and take a walk. And although it seems counterintuitive to be exercising or moving around if you have knee osteoarthritis, it actually helps to use your knees, so don’t be afraid to get out there and take walks. 

Now, let’s talk about what walking does for your mental health and your mind. Walking has similar effects as meditating–it can help your focus, increase your mood, lower stress, and open your mind to creativity. Walking gives your mind a chance to re-energize and if you’re outdoors, changing your surroundings will also stimulate your brain. In many ways, going out for a walk helps to reset your brain a little and refocus your attention on the moment. When you take breaks, consider getting up and walking outside rather than sitting at home snacking/watching TV/doing nothing. 

Here’s the thing. A lot of these health benefits you also get from exercise–running, swimming, biking, rowing, boot camp, strength training, whatever. You might prefer to do those things over walking because many of them burn more calories in a shorter amount of time. But walking is low impact, so ideal for those who are dealing with injuries or tend to have joint issues/pain. It’s also just a way simpler activity that doesn’t involve equipment or risking your health (by going to the gym or being around a lot of other people), so it’s an easier habit to form. And right now, getting motivated to work out might be pretty hard for some people, so if you’re not meeting your exercise goals and you’re punishing yourself for it, try taking a walk instead. Walking is a simple way of taking your first step toward better health.


Comments (1)

Walking is by far one of my favorite activities to do. I like it more for the mental aspect than the physical. It’s true. It’s similar to meditation. I usually walk without music, listen to a motivational speech, or a podcast.

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