In 2016 we will…
Fortunately for me I’m already a great walker. I’m not talking long, endurance style hikes, more your everyday stroll to the shops or the speed walk of the school run, but if I can avoid using the car, I will. So, for me, this is a resolution that I don’t actually need to make, but I wanted to share with you the amazing health benefits that walking can give.
Gentle walking is a great way to introduce exercise into your day, without even realising you’re working out. Health guidelines advise that we should all be aiming for 150 minutes of exercise every week and if some of those minutes are achieved through walking, then that’s fantastic. Do you drive to work? Then why not consider parking somewhere a bit further away and walking the rest? Or maybe you always take the lift to get to your office on the tenth floor? Take the stairs instead. It’s really very easy to make small adjustments to your daily routine that will make huge differences to your health.
Take a look at the other great benefits of walking more:
- It helps you lose weight – If you walk for 30 minutes at a speed of around 2mph you can expect to burn off approximately 75 calories, pretty good right? And up your speed to 4mph, that takes your calorie burn up to 150. So, you can see, that by doing this even just a couple of times a week you’re going to lose weight. Just make sure you don’t counteract this by hitting the biscuit tin after!
- It makes your heart stronger – The Stroke Association says that a daily walk, again for 30 minutes, helps control and prevent high blood pressure, which is the main cause of strokes. Low impact, cardio exercise, like walking, is fantastic at lowering the levels of bad cholesterol in our bodies and increasing levels of good cholesterol. In fact, research has shown that walking is better for our hearts than running. In a study conducted by scientists in California, results showed that walking helped reduce heart disease by 9.3%, whereas running only reduced it by 4.5%
- It can give you more energy – Doing any kind of exercise helps give you more energy. It’s incredibly hard to believe that doing something that requires you to use energy can create more, but it really does. The great thing about walking is that it gets you out in the fresh air, which is even more energising.
- It helps clear the mind – Walking is a fantastic mood booster, so much so that studies have shown that a brisk walk in the fresh air can be just as effective as antidepressants in people who suffer from mild to moderate cases of depression. When we walk it gives us a chance to forget about our worries and the natural feel good endorphins that are released in our bodies also help lower our stress and anxiety levels. It helps restore positivity, motivation and create an improved sense of general wellbeing that is so important to both physical and mental health.
- It’s good for the environment – Let’s look at the facts – walking doesn’t emit harmful gases into the air, walking doesn’t do damage to roads, walking doesn’t cause traffic jams and walking doesn’t add to the earth’s rapidly depleting natural resources that are continually put under pressure to fuel our transport. Combine this with the fact that walking is so beneficial to our health and there really are no excuses as to why you shouldn’t be walking more.
As I said, I don’t need to convince myself to walk more and hopefully after reading this, I won’t need to convince you any more either!