Following on from Walk to Work Day, National Walking Month is almost upon us again. Throughout the month of May, walking is promoted and everyone is encouraged to increase the amount of walking they do. There are so many potential health benefits to walking, so with the days getting longer and the weather improving, why not join in this month and get more active?
Why is walking so great?
- It can benefit your mood – Walking can modify your nervous system and subsequently improves your mood and studies have shown that just a 12-minute walk can have a significant impact on your mental health. Additionally, getting active releases feel-good hormones known as endorphins into the bloodstream, and getting that natural high reduces stress and anxiety and ultimately helps to build self-esteem.
- Walking can help with weight loss – It has been suggested that you should walk 8,000 steps per day to maintain your health, but walking 10,000 steps a day can help aid weight loss. Here are some top tips to get you started with walking for weight loss.
- You’ll be more creative – According to a 2014 study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Learning, Memory, and Cognition, going for a walk can spark your creativity. “Researchers administered creative-thinking tests to subjects while seated and while walking and found that the walkers thought more creatively than the sitters,” says Dr. Jampolis. Even just a quick stroll around the block can help assist in improving your creativity.
- Your risk of chronic diseases can be reduced – As well as heart disease, regular fitness walking can impact on the risk of developing type two diabetes, asthma and some cancers. Studies suggest regular exercise such as walking can reduce the risk of diabetes by up to 60 per cent. Using walking as a ‘miracle drug’ is great because there are no real negative side-effects!
- It can save you money – By swapping short journeys that you normally take by car to walking journeys, you can save money on the cost of fuel! Not only that, but walking is free and no specialist equipment is required!
- Strengthen your bones and muscles – Getting out and about in the daylight can boost your natural levels of Vitamin D which is essential for bone health. Not only will walking improve your bone strength but your muscles are likely to strengthen too, reducing the risk of injury during other sports.
If you’re struggling to get motivated and started though here are some suggestions for getting more steps in each day;
- Walk and talk – If you have a phone call, multi-task and take a stroll at the same time!
- Take the stairs! Where and when possible, take the stairs instead of the elevator.
- When you park the car, instead of trying to get the closest parking space to the office or supermarket, park as far away as you can! This is guaranteed to add to your daily step count!
- Stuck at a desk all day? Get up and move about the office regularly. Take short breaks throughout the day to stretch your legs, it will do wonders for your productivity.
- Use your lunch break! If you can, make sure you use your lunch break! Take a stroll around the block for a quick refresh!
- Walk to the shops rather than drive if possible. It tends to be easier and quicker to jump in the car for quick shopping trips but why not swap this for a walk instead! Take a rucksack with you and you’ll find it’s not too difficult carrying a few items back home with you.
- Shake up your meetings! Instead of all sitting down and around a table, why not try walking meetings? Thinking on your feet can have as many benefits for your brain as it does your body!
- If possible, walk to work instead of taking your usual commute. If you can’t walk the whole way, why not get off the bus a few stops earlier or perhaps walk a slightly longer route from the train station to the office.
- Walk with others to keep motivated. Walking with other people can be a great help in keeping you going, so join a walking group such as The Ramblers or start your own with colleagues and friends!