We Can Walk It Out!

Why walking may be the most important tool in your total wellbeing kit
By Samantha Harrison

For many of us it’s been tough to make it past the front gate this past year, let alone attempt a 42k run. But you know what? Even if you have to run, skip, jump or walk in circles around your backyard or the block, moving your body any which way you can is exactly what you need to be doing right now. Why? It will keep you from losing your ever loving mind that’s why! 

But why walk?

It’s the most convenient, accessible form of exercise. No matter your age or stage of fitness, you can do it. It requires minimal, if any, investment. Just your precious time. You can do it anywhere you happen to be, even on the spot in the middle of your living room!

Benefits to love

Exercise sparks the release of powerful mood-boosting brain chemicals. The most well known are endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. Known as ‘happy hormones’, their job is to literally make you feel better. 

Stress, worry, anxiety, anger, frustration, sadness… these are heavy weights to carry for anyone. Regular exercise can help send them packing and restore a sense of calm, wellbeing and joyful purpose to your life. 

How do I begin?

Literally, just start. Handy (though not essential) things to have include:

  • A good pair of trainers that are perfect for your feet. Ideally, have them fitted by a fitness shoe expert who can assess your particular needs. 
  • Some cute and comfy activewear (you deserve it). 
  • A refillable water bottle. 
  • Headphones/AirPods.
  • A fitness tracker/watch to help keep you motivated. 

How often?

How about every day? Sound like a lot? If you’re a beginner, start out with shorter distances and then gradually up the ante. In no time you’ll be loving it and looking forward to smashing your daily step and kilojoule burn goals. The key is consistency. That’s how good habits form and stick. Now, go lace up your shoes and head on out. 

What else?

Being physically active delivers on multiple other health fronts, too. Try a few of these on for size:

  • Increased energy, stamina and endurance.
  • Improved strength, flexibility and balance.
  • Fewer pesky aches and pains.
  • Lower risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and wonky cholesterol. 
  • Reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Reduced risk of certain cancers. 
  • Weight control and obesity avoidance. 
  • Better sleep. 
  • Clearer focus. 
  • A trim, toned bod that gives lockdown life the middle finger. Yep, we said it. 

Hot tip...

There are some fab ‘walk at home’ videos available online. Check ’em out for those times you can’t get outside. We love Leslie Sansone’s Walk at Home program. She’s been leading walk classes for over 25 years; they’re so much fun for beginners and advanced exercisers alike. Find her free classes on YouTube.

And, bonus, walking also allows you to multitask while you work out. You can chat with a friend, listen to music, an audio book or your favourite podcast and you’ll have covered lots of ground before you know it. (Of course, walking in blessed silence is also an option!)

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