Walking for wellbeing

It can be easy to think that a real workout has to be a designated session that involves planning and time. We may assume that if we aren’t out of breath that an activity is not truly exercising. If you’re not glistening with a sheen of sweat after your workout, was it really a workout at all? 

In the case of walking, the answer is yes. You don’t need to squeeze into your bike shorts or put on your running shoes every time you’re looking for a workout. Walking can be an easy – but effective – alternative, which will still give you numerous health benefits. 

This article will give you the tips and inspiration you need to get out of the house and hit the sidewalk! 

The benefits of walking

Going for a stroll can have positive effects on multiple aspects of our wellbeing. Walking is a low-risk physical activity that nearly anyone can partake in. It’s easy, accessible, and can be done nearly anywhere. Physically, walking can help us to improve aerobic capacity, lower blood pressure, and support a healthy body mass index. Studies have shown that going on walks can also lead to better sleep quality. Adding walks to your routine can have positive effects on your mental health as well. A recent study found that taking walks in a forest or park can improve our mood by reducing feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression. Walking can be a wonderful way to combine the physical health benefits of exercise with the mood-boosting effects of nature. And speaking of nature, when we choose to walk somewhere rather than drive or take the bus, we make a positive choice for the environment as well. Reducing your carbon footprint can be as simple as placing one foot in front of the other. 

Still not convinced that walking is really the right way to go? Keep reading for some ideas that may just convince you to get in some more steps.

Social strolls  

If you can’t imagine motivating yourself to go for a walk alone, the good news is that it may be even more beneficial to walk with a buddy. Going for solo walks provides us with enough health benefits, but partnering up with a buddy or relative is also excellent for your social wellbeing. Urge your room mate or spouse to get off the couch and join you for a walk around the block, and you’ll be working on your physical and social health simultaneously. Find a friend to walk with, or – if socially distanced walks are not possible – schedule a phone call during your stroll so you can catch up with a loved one. Or simply take your dog along. Furry friends can count as walking companions too.

Multitask

During a long walk can be the perfect time to multitask. Letting your mind wander as you walk can be lovely, but it can also be a great way to unwind with some music or a podcast. Take out those headphones and cue up your favorite playlist, start a new podcast about something you have a passion for, or possibly look up a guided walking meditation.

Taking a walk can be a wonderful way to combine physical and mental exercise. Engage your muscles and your mind at the same time.

Natural connection

For some of us it may be hard to choose a natural path. Sticking to the city sidewalks is entirely fine and hugely beneficial. However, evidence shows that going for a walk in a green space – whether that be a park or forest – can be even better for us than just a walk in an urban setting. It turns out that walking in a green space can improve mental health and increase positive emotions even better than a walk in a non green space. 

Remember that it can be easy to connect to nature, even if you are in the city. Take the time to search for a beautiful park nearby, and enjoy the comfort of green grass and trees. Embrace the smells and sounds of nature as you stroll, and soon you’ll be feeling its calming effects. 

So get going!

Walking is undeniably beneficial to our wellbeing. Not only is it an easier exercise than running or cycling, it can be done at almost anytime, even over your lunch break or between errands. Whether we decide to walk upon forest trails or on city sidewalks, we can improve our physical, social, and mental health every step of the way. 

The next time you feel the need to clear your head and get your blood pumping a bit, simply put on some comfortable walking shoes and set out for a stroll.

Keywords: Walking, Nature 

  • Allmark, P., Grant, G., Machaczek, K., Pollard, N. (2017). Walking, sustainability, and health: findings from a study of a Walking for Health group. Health and Social Care, 25(3). https://doi.org/10.1111/hsc.12424
  • Allmark, P., Grant, G., Pollard, N. (2017). The Social Relations of a Health Walk Group: An Ethnographic Study. Qualitative Health Research, 27(11). https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732317703633
  • Bang, K., Lee, I., Kim, S., Lim, C., Joh, H., Park, B., Song, M. (2017). The Effects of a Campus Forest-Walking Program on Undergraduate and Graduate Students’ Physical and Psychological Health. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 14(7). http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph14070728
  • Wang, F., Boros, S. (2020). The effect of daily walking exercise on sleep quality in healthy young adults. Sport Sci Health. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11332-020-00702-x

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Wanna chat? Contact us at

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Get to know us

Wanna chat? Contact us at
info@well-you.com

Get to know us

Wanna chat? Contact us at
info@well-you.com