Walking is easy. It requires nothing more than a comfortable pair of shoes and a little space, and you’ve probably been doing it since you were about a year old. As easy as it is, walking is also surprisingly good for both physical and mental health.
Lighten the mood – Walking releases endorphins that reduce stress and increase feelings of well being. Walking outside adds a dose of sunshine, boosting vitamin D levels.
Boost creativity – When you’re feeling stuck, going for a walk can help you think more clearly.
Heart health – Walking helps lower blood pressure and increase circulation, improving cardiovascular health. Walking can also help control blood sugar levels, reducing diabetes risk.
Improved digestion – Walking improves gastrointestinal function and helps prevent constipation.
Energy boost – When you walk, you breathe more deeply, taking in more oxygen to nourish your cells. This gives you more energy to get through the day.
Sleep better – When you’ve been struggling with insomnia, the answer may be as simple as lacing up your shoes and hitting the pavement. Walking helps regulate production of sleep hormones, especially when you walk early in the day.
Build strength – You’re not going to get bulging muscles from walking like you might from heavy weight lifting, but you will see increased strength in your core and lower body. Grab some light weights and pump your arms to get the same benefits in your upper body.
Finding ways to walk more
Experts disagree on how much we need to walk each, with recommendations ranging from 10,000 steps to thirty minutes. One thing they can all agree on is that most of us would do well to walk more than we already do, regardless of the exact number of steps or minutes. Here are some ways to boost your activity level.
Dress comfortably – Wearing comfortable shoes is the most important, but comfortable clothing is also important. Shoes that hurt your feet or clothing that restricts movement are going to keep you from wanting to walk.
Keep track – You could splurge on a pedometer, but there are smartphone apps that can track your distance walked just as well. However you do it, find a way to track your steps and see if you can do more than you did the day before.
Leave the car behind – This isn’t always practical, but for some errands, consider walking instead of driving. If you live in a neighborhood that isn’t safe for walking, consider running a bunch of errands at once. Park your car in a central location and walk from one place to the next. You might also consider parking a little farther away.
Clean house – Clip on your step tracker and do some household chores, cook a meal, or go do some yard work. You’ll be surprised at just how much walking these activities involve.
Avoid sitting – This isn’t always feasible when you work a desk job, but any time you find yourself sitting without doing anything productive, get up and walk around. You can pace the room while you’re on the phone, watching TV, or waiting for an appointment.
Walk with friends – It’s hard to put off your walk when you have friends pushing you to walk with them. Just be sure to return the favor and push them when they are feeling less motivated.
Find something to listen to – If you’re walking alone, find an interesting podcast or audiobook to listen to. If you make a point to only listen while you walk, you’ll want to keep walking to find out what happens next.
To learn more about the benefits of walking and to get the most out of your walk, call your Sunbury chiropractor in Roxburgh Park on (03) 9303 9952 or Sunbury on (03)