The Amazing Benefits of Walking, and How to Walk More!
I’ve read countless articles on the health benefits of walking. But, admittedly, I never took real action. For over a decade, I lived in Chicago – without a car – and walked more than the average person.
Plus, with years spent as a serious runner I naively assumed walking didn’t hold many of these benefits for someone as active as I was. Cocky, much?
I’m happy to say I have proved myself completely wrong! My new found love of walking started when I scaled back my running when going through fertility treatments.
I got into a habit of inviting a friend, and we would walk and talk for an hour. I loved this time. It got my heart pumping, but was so enjoyable I wasn’t focused on how long we had been walking, or how much further we had to go.
I incorporated more walking into my daily life, and really saw the light. I started walking to more client sessions – most 1.5 miles from my apartment – and played a podcast as I walked to and from sessions. Game-changer!
There are many benefits of walking that you don’t physically feel. Like lowered blood pressure, increased bone strength, and lower blood cholesterol, although those things are happening. What I noticed, was a peacefulness and positivity that spilled into my day.
Here are ways walking more improves your day immediately:
A favorite podcast is Wellprenuer, a business podcast for wellness entrepreneurs (clearly this is a niche market). Listening to it while walking I am almost overwhelmed with directions to take my business! It’s empowering and insightful, and my mind is wandering the whole walk with ways to bring positive change to my clients lives.
I also problem solve during walks. Whether it’s coming up with a solution to schedule conflicts, what to say to a client who has a tough question, or simply what to make for dinner, I come home with – at minimum – a place to start.
Relax, Walk to It
Walking is an amazing de-stressor. Just being outside gives you instant relief. That feeling of being cooped up between walls disappears, and the fresh air is energizing. Even just walking the dog and toddler for 15 minutes, I feel revitalized and ready to start whatever I may have been putting off. Without screens in your face, you can get lost in your thoughts. It’s no wonder walking reduces blood pressure!
Enjoy the Ride
Road rage is a real thing, brought on by commuting. When I walk places I actually enjoy my commute. For one, you know you will get to your destination XX minutes after you leave. There’s no chance of missing a bus, not finding parking, or sitting in traffic. You also have time to call a friend (or, call your mom. Go do it, now!) and talk with no distraction.
Finally crush your fitness goals!
Craft your plan and stick to it with these Get Fit Planning & Tracking Printables.
How to fit in walking when you don’t live in a highly walkable area:
Short and Sweet
You don’t need a 45 minute walk to reap the benefits. Just 15 minutes can do wonders to your mood, and physical health. Do figure 8s around your neighborhood a few times or use MapMyWalk.com to map a route and find routes in your area that others have mapped.
Build it into your Day
To make walking a habit, it needs to align with things you already do nearly every day. Walking on your lunch break and after dinner on weekdays, for as little as 10 minutes increases your activity over an hour and a half each week. It all counts. Is the bank, gym or convenience store under a mile away? Walk there! Once it’s routine you won’t debate if you should walk or drive, it’s just something you do.
Read This: Easy Ways to Move More and Sit Less
Bring a Buddy
Be it a podcast, friend, spouse or child, walking is the perfect way to spend time with someone, or catchup on your favorite podcast. Even walking on a treadmill can be entertaining when you’re lost in a show or next to a friend. If you need extra motivation, save a favorite podcast for your walks. If you want to listen, you’ll have to get moving.
I work with women from preconception through early motherhood, when exercise has a way of falling by the wayside. If you could use outside accountability, email me at Samantha@simplywellcoaching.com and during your free 20 minute Discovery Call we can decide if you’re a fit for health coaching!