When it comes to exercising, most of us tend to associate it with strenuous activities like HIIT, Personal Trainer sessions or spinning. However, there’s one form of exercise that’s overshadowed and underrated - walking.
For those who are overwhelmed by gyms or exercise classes with strangers, walking is a good form of exercise. Not only is it free to walk around in your neighbourhood or parks, it’s also a low-impact activity that can be done for longer periods of time, making it optimal especially for those with knee, ankle or back issues. Studies have shown that walking for 30 minutes daily can help you improve your physical health and aid in weightloss.
There are many positive physical aspects to the simple art of walking. Firstly, doing it regularly can reduce body fat and prevent weight gain. It’ll improve your fitness and cardiac health, leading to a reduced risk of chronic diseases. You can also build up your stamina and endurance by committing to daily walking and including ascents on your route, which could be a slight uphill walk or even just taking the stairs.
Apart from the physical health benefits, a lesser-known but equally as important benefit from walking is the mental health aspect.
Numerous studies have shown that walking can relieve symptoms of anxiety and enhance moods. A brisk 10-minute walk when you’re stressed out can already help you feel more relaxed.
A study conducted by Stanford University has shown that walking is also beneficial when it comes to creativity. Participants of this particular study have improved their creative output by 60%, revealing that “walking opens up the free flow of ideas, and it is a simple and robust solution to the goals of increasing creativity and increasing physical activity.”
It has also been proven that walking can aid in improving memory and in preventing deterioration of brain tissue.
While experts recommend to walk at least 30 minutes every day, don’t feel guilty if you don’t always achieve this target. Start slow by committing to daily walks as you build up your strength.
Here are also some simple tips to help you incorporate more walks in your daily routine:
Take the stairs instead of the lift.
Get off one stop earlier when you’re talking public transportation and walk the rest of the way to your destination.
Opt to walk to grocery store instead of taking your car.
Explore different streets in the neighbourhood to change your scenery.
Invite partner or a friend to walk with you. This way, both of you can encourage each other to stay committed.
Research different parks or nature reserves to go to during the weekends.
Take a walk during lunch hour, or take short breaks throughout the day to de-stress and go for a walk. This can help calm your mind and stay focused when you’re stressed.