Why You Should Be Walking Every Day
We’ve all been told we need to be more active. Our grandparents tell us about walking 700 miles to school when they were kids. We’re supposed to join a gym, go running, play team sports. And we’re supposed to get 10,000 steps a day on our Fitbits. We’re supposed to do so many things, but I wonder if somewhere along the way, we decided that the simplest answer to moving more was less important than the force we exert against ourselves to make ourselves workout. And so I ask the question, why not try walking?
I myself love walking. I hate running. I’m asthmatic and I busted both my knees about a year ago. Running is not for me. I also don’t especially like gyms. They tend to lack the whole being outside thing that I appreciate when I’m not at work. Also, air-conditioned spaces can spark my asthma, so there’s that, too. There is something pleasant about heading outside to go for a walk and I think you should give it a try.
The Argument for Walking
Some of the many benefits of walking include, but are not limited to:
- being good for your health. I have never met a doctor who said walking was bad for me, in fact, most doctors encourage me in my endeavours to walk more.
- helping to stave off depression and anxiety. If, like me, you’ve ever been struck down by mental illness, this is a massive motivator for hitting the footpath.
- it’s free! Not even kidding. There are no membership fees, no super-fancy equipment. You should probably invest in some decent shoes, but when it comes down to it, you can walk barefoot on the beach if you want to. There are no rules here.
- protection from heart disease, diabetes II and stroke. Who wants heart disease? No? Well, put your shoes on and get outside.
- lowering the rate of weight gain. Not too shabby. Cupcake anyone?
- increasing muscle strength, bone density and balance.
- you only have to walk for 30 minutes a day (according to Better Health Channel) to start enjoying the benefits. Seriously, by the time you get in the car, get to the gym and figure out how one of those pieces of equipment work, you could already be home if you’d just gone walking.
So how do you become a walking rockstar?
It’s pretty simple really, you pull on your shoes and get out there. You can explore your neighbourhood. You can even meet your neighbours. One of my favourites things about walking is that I get to meet all of the pets in the suburb. Do you have any idea how many awesome dogs and cats there are in the world? You can go walking by yourself, or you can go with your friends, or you can go walking on the beach, in the bush, around an oval, in a park. You can join a group. Seriously, you could even START a group.
If you’re feeling apprehensive about heading out for 30 minutes as a starting point, you can start smaller and work your way up, but as a general rule, aim for at least 30 minutes every day. Even on the weekend.
As always, don’t forget to check with your doctor or health care professional before starting any new exercise program. Even one as gentle and pleasant as walking.