Walking for 15 minutes or more a day can reduce depression, joint inflammation and weight gain. Even a simple stroll around the block can improve moods and reduce unwanted stress. There are many benefits our bodies gain from incorporating walking into our daily schedules. It is not just a great way to ‘keep fit’, it is a great way to keep happy.
Most likely there are several convenient times you can integrate a simple walking workout into your day. There is minimal planning required, and you don’t even need any equipment. Just grab a pair of comfortable shoes and get your ‘walk’ on.
THE MORNING WALK
Walking up ten minutes early to venture outside for a pre-breakfast walk is one of the easiest ways to promote a healthier, happier day. Not only will your skin thank you for exposure to fresh morning air, your digestive tract will also benefit from the simple walking movement. After your first morning walk, during the rest of the day, you may notice reduced bloating, clearer breathing and a greater frequency of random smiles.
THE WALK TO WORK
If you do not live within walking distance from your work, but commute by car or train, you can choose a drop off point a few blocks away and walk the rest. Not only will the pre-work walk freshen up your thoughts, it will give you some time to think about your daily tasks. You may notice that on days that you walk to work, your creativity and adaptability are at their best. This is most likely due to the semi-meditative state that walking inspires.
THE LUNCH WALK
Instead of wasting your lunch breaks by surfing the internet (reading articles on FitBodyHQ.com is acceptable of course!), try to squeeze in a walk around the block. Encourage a few of your co-workers to join in on the fit inspired fun. This is a great way to reboot your energy levels for the rest of the day. Walking with co-workers may also inspire creative solutions to work related problems by taking the discussion outside of the office.
THE WALK HOME
The greatest way to wind down after work is to walk it off, the stress that is. More often than not, after completing a hard day’s task, it is difficult to calm the mind. For avid ‘after work‘ walkers, it is much easier to return to normal thinking as walking stimulates the brain and releases calming chemicals known as Endorphins. Endorphins which are responsible for reducing anxiety and pain also act as sedatives which can promote deep and fulfilling sleep.
THE WEIGHTED WALK
Walking for just fifteen minutes a day for seven days can add up to a deficit of 700 calories per week. In one year that is a net loss of approximately ten pounds. To increase the amount of calories burned during a walk you can include wrist weights, ankle weights, or a heavy backpack. You can learn more about the effects of weighted walking by reading this research article.
THE SQUAT/LUNGE WALK
To increase the intensity of your walking workouts, you can include squats or lunges. For every minute of walking you can complete six squats for leaner thighs or after five minutes of walking you can complete one minute of lunge walking for tighter glutes. Not only will muscle strength increase by including squats and/or lunges during your walks, but bone density will greatly improve.
THE WALK TO SAVE MONEY
A months worth of walking can reduce the need for a gym membership. During nice weather it is cheaper and easier to get out and walk than to drive to the gym. Walking also increases the amount of oxygen in our blood and it is a great way to save money on Vitamin D pills since the sun provides our skin with ample amounts of vitamin D. Walking also is the best way to get to get to know your neighbourhood and neighbours.
To conclude, walking is an amazingly simple way to propel your body towards health and happiness. Even incorporating short walks a few times a day, every day, is better than not walking at all. Just don’t forget to hydrate, especially if you plan on taking a long stroll around town.