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The Benefits of Walking!

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We often hear about how walking is super good for us, however, you may be surprised at just how beneficial it can be to our bodies, mind and wellbeing. See below for our Top Ten benefits of simply putting one foot in front of the other!

  • Gym memberships and exercise classes can be great motivation, but often a financial drain. Incorporating walking into your routine, however, is free – trainers permitting! This makes walking an accessible activity for everyone and can be maintained in a sustainable way all year long.
  • Not only is walking a free and accessible activity, it can be a social one too! Whilst going for a solitary walk is a nice bit of self-care and can really help ordering your thoughts on the day, walking with friends is the perfect excuse to catch-up and maintain solid relationships. Why not make it a regular activity for a particular day of the week with a friend who you may struggle to see otherwise? Or a time for you and your partner to get away from the stresses of the house and have a proper conversation? All the time burning calories and strengthening muscles and bones.
  • Walking is a great way to increase your overall strength and fitness, at any pace! When we walk, we carry our own body weight which leads to stronger bones and muscles, increased stamina and better balance. All of this helps to maintain a healthy heart and reduce the risk of stroke or heart disease. Just 30-minutes a day at a steady pace, can have dramatic effects on your heart health.
  • Many people swear by walking as a way to lose weight and subsequently gain confidence! Depending on your weight, you can burn between 100 and 300 calories with half an hour of brisk walking. If you walk at this pace for an hour, your body will start burning more and more of these calories from stored fat. So, alongside generally improving muscle tone, walking can really help shed the pounds and get you feeling great. 
  • Whilst there is often some confusion between the terms ‘low-impact’ and ‘high-impact’ when it comes to exercise, walking is generally accepted as a low-impact activity. This does not however translate to low benefits! Low-impact exercises reduces your risk of musculoskeletal injury and are perfect for people with any joint or bone problems, alongside those with a lower fitness levels or mobility issues. All this means is that anyone can enjoy walking, and it is the perfect place to start or supplement your fitness routine. 
  • Like cycling, walking can be your method of transport and therefore requires only small changes to your existing routine. If you live walking distance from local amenities, your friends and family or your place of work, then consider ditching the car or bus and getting walking! Not only will you get the health benefits, but you won’t need to worry about the rush hour traffic! 
  • For those of us with a smartphone and a pair of headphones, a walk can be the perfect opportunity to learn and research! Away from the distractions of screens in the house, a 30-minute walk around the park may encourage you to get into the latest podcast series everybody is talking about or work your way through a list of audiobooks that you never got around to reading. Plus, if the book or podcast is interesting enough, you may want to extend your walk – meaning more exercise and further improved health!
  • You can also ditch the headphones for a walk and work on practising some mindfulness whilst getting fit. If you’re lucky enough to live near a park, or any open green space, taking the time during your walk to be aware of your surroundings in a mindful way can be greatly beneficial to your mental health.
  • Healthy body, healthy mind. The organisation Walking for Health states that we cannot under-estimate the benefits of walking on our mental wellbeing; improving self-esteem, sleep quality, and reduce anxiety and fatigue. They state that “physically active people have up to a 30% reduced risk of becoming depressed”, and physical activities such as walking can aid recovery from depression. For more information on walking’s impact on our mental health, have a look at their website: https://www.walkingforhealth.org.uk/get-walking/why-walk/healthy-minds 
  • Work in an office and sit most of the day? Why not mix things up and arrange some walking meetings or brain storming sessions! Not only will you get the health and wellbeing benefits listed above, but it will get you out of the office, and perhaps improve creativity and focus within the team. 

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