I’m sure you’ve heard it all before that walking 10,000 steps is great for your health!
Well to be honest, there’s no number that is exact. It’s more about being conscious of moving your body so your skeletal system, circulatory system, nervous system and circadian system can all work at their optimal level plus there’s great social benefits too. You see, these systems and benefits are what make you perform at your best and that’s what life is all about.
Let’s get into the benefits and reasons why walking is a great exercise…
Walking with other people can turn exercise into an enjoyable social occasion. Some suggestions include:
- Schedule a regular family walk – this is a great way to pass on healthy habits to your children or grandchildren, and to spend time together, while getting fit at the same time.
- If you are walking with children, make sure the route and length of time spent walking are appropriate to their age.
- Babies and toddlers enjoy long walks in the pram. Take the opportunity to point out items of interest to young ones, such as vehicles, flowers and other pedestrians.
- Look for the self-guided nature walks that have been set up in many parks. Younger children enjoy looking for the next numbered post; older ones can learn about the plants and animals of the park, and perhaps take photos or record their experience in other ways.
- Ask neighbours or friends if they would like to join you on your walks. Think of starting a walking group.
I really enjoy walking my dog! Since having a puppy I’ve met some incredible people and have had some amazing conversations. A dog needs regular exercise which gives you the motivation to walk every day. I definitely like the companionship too. If you don’t have a dog, and aren’t planning on getting one, consider offering to walk a neighbour’s dog from time to time.
When you walk you carry your own body weight. This is known as weight-bearing exercise. Some of the benefits include:
- increased cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) fitness
- reduced risk of heart disease and stroke
- improved management of conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, joint and muscular pain or stiffness, and diabetes
- stronger bones and improved balance
- increased muscle strength and endurance
- reduced body fat.
You don’t necessarily need to belong to a gym or spend an extravagant amount of money to exercise and be healthy, mind you a good pair of walking shoes is a great idea. When looking at these benefits it’s easy to see that walking helps with longevity too! Always be sure to get clearance from your doctor or medical professional before starting any exercise regime just to be safe.
A nice stroll out in your local environment has been shown to have some wonderful benefits relieving stress. Research has shown that walking promotes the release of brain chemicals called endorphins that stimulate relaxation and improve our mood. Walking does not have to be done at a fast pace to have stress relieving benefits. Even a stroll at a comfortable pace promotes relaxation, studies indicate. Try doing the following while walking:
- meditate by listening to music or a meditation app
- breathing slowly and concentrating on each breath
- find a beautiful spot in nature
- chatter away with a friend or loved one
A study published in the journal, Sleep Health, found that walking was positively associated with improved sleep. The participants who averaged the most steps during the month-long study — and who spent the most minutes being active — reported significantly better sleep, on average, than those who walked the least.
That finding was especially true for women and I know I have a better, sounder sleep when I’ve engaged in physical activity throughout the day!
Physical exercise is very beneficial to sleep hygiene and daily routine. Walking during the day helps you absorb vitamin D which is also required for a good night’s sleep!
So with all these benefits, where will you take your boots for a walk?
Also I’d love to have a chat about helping you develop some awesome healthy habits… Why don’t you BOOK A CALL today!